Red Deer trampolinist Zachary Blakely will be competing at the upcoming Canada Winter Games.
Blakely, who has been on Gymnastics Canada’s Junior National Team since 2015, said he has had his sights set on qualifying for the national multi-sport event since he missed out last time.
“I really wanted to do this so I made sure I trained as hard as I could leading up to the event and it started out really good and I am extremely happy I have the opportunity to do it,” said Blakely, who is currently studying physiology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Last year, at the Canada Cup in Montreal, the 19-year-old placed third in the double mini-trampoline, 13th in individual trampoline and seventh in synchro trampoline.
Blakely has competed at some prestigious competitions in his sport — the 2017 Canada Cup in Calgary and the 2017 World Age Group Competition in Bulgaria, the 2016 Indo Pacific Championships and the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships in the U.S. — but he said the Canada Winter Games is the most prestigious.
“When you say World Age Group championships for gymnastics, it’s very specific. But the Canada Winter Games is a very encompassing, broad term and I haven’t had a multi-games event like this before. So I consider it one of the biggest.”
Blakely, who trains with the Red Deer County Thunder Country Trampoline and Gymnastics club, described himself as a doer, not a thinker.
“Some people like to think before they go, they have game plans. They have their minds completely steeled up so they are ready to go so they don’t panic during the event. I’m not exactly the best visualizer. I’m more of a, ‘Let’s just do this. Let’s get going.’”
His advice for young athletes who have the Canada Games as a goal is to take one day at a time.
“Doing poorly or not performing the way you want to is not something that should instantly disturb you from everything else.
“You have to take every day individually, I found, and treat every opportunity and experience as a different one. Of course, they have some overlap but if you lump everything together, especially if it is all negative, then you are just setting yourself up for failure.”
After the Games, he said he plans to continue competing with, “No intention of stopping.”