Bermuda Gymnasts Leap Into History

May 3, 2010

Two Bermudian gymnasts literally leapt into history on this weekend, performing death defying vaults that have never before been performed by a Bermudian gymnast.

Not only did they cement their place in local gymnastic history, they have become one of the few elite gymnasts in the world capable of performing the awe inspiring moves.

The Bermuda Gymnastic Association held the USAIGC Bermuda National Gymnastics Championships at their Southside Gym on Saturday May 1st. Eighteen gymnasts aged 8 to 14 competed in rotations of four events; floor, uneven bars, vault and the beam. The competition was a qualifier for the USAIGC International Championships.

The head coach is Robert “Duke” Nelligan, a former Maryland college gymnastics coach who achieved 18 winning seasons and 18 NCAA regional championship appearances. The veteran coach has almost 40 years experience.

13 year old Rosie Finnegan sprinted at top speed towards the vault and successfully landed, literally landing herself into Bermuda Gymnastic history. The Coach then announced that she had become the first Bermudian to accomplish the vault, and a huge cheer went up in the gym.

Not only did she cement her place locally, but she joins an elite world class group as Coach Nelligan told us that “only a handful of people in the world play with that vault”. The vault consists of a handspring on the board and a full twisting front handspring off.

Morgan Beckles, at only 14 years old, performed a Pike Yurchenko, which was named after legendary Soviet gymnast Natalia Yurchenko, a former world champion, who originated the vault in the early 1980s.

In a Yurchenko vault, the gymnast does a round-off onto the springboard and a back handspring onto the vaulting horse. She then performs a salto, which may range in difficulty from a simple single tuck to a triple twist layout before landing on her feet on the mat. Morgan performed the Pike variation, also becoming the first Bermudian gymnast to accomplish this feat to immense audience applause.

Both vaults take around a year for an elite level gymnast to master. The local gymnasts have been working on the moves for 8 months.

L to R: Tabytha Hofheins, Rosie Finnegan, Morgan Beckels, Morgan Cleave

L to R: Tabytha Hofheins, Rosie Finnegan, Morgan Beckels, Morgan Cleave

Showing the level of depth the local gymnasts have, neither of those two history making gymnasts won the overall, which was won by 12 yr old Tabytha Hofheins. The ‘Platinum’ group consisted of four gymnasts, the three already mentioned and 12 yr old Morgan Cleave. All four are students of Bermuda High School for Girls and are considered, and showed themselves to be, the elite gymnasts in Bermuda.

Below is a short clip that shows all four gymnasts listed above performing on the uneven bars:

The silver and bronze levels squads also competed, and show great levels of talent.

The Silver B competitors, aged 10 to 12,  included Danielle Wall, Clara James, Zantae Dill, Sydney Mason, Andrea Burrows.

The Silver A competitors, aged 9 to 10,  includedSamantha Soars, Sadia Wilson, Tais Burgess-Wilson, Tomei Talbot and Zekiah Lewis.

The Bronze competitors, all aged 8 and 9, were Anah Lightbourne, Trinity Wilson, Jadaizha Washington and Ava Marshall.

Minister of Sports Glenn Blakeney could be seen at the event early on, and the medals were presented by St Davids MP PLP Lovitta Foggo and UBP MP Charles Swan. We spoke with Ms Foggo afterwards, and she said how much she enjoyed the event and how amazing many of the moves were. Mr`Swan expressed some consternation about being the only male in the photo below, to which a group of 9 year old girls responded by telling him exactly where to stand.

bermuda gymnastics may 2010
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Comments (2)

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  1. Samantha says:

    Excellent work guys! Congrats!

  2. BETTTY TRUMP says:

    Keep pushing on young people. WELL DONE, WELL DONE, I am most proud of your performance.