While most Whistlerites spend their time trying not to take a tumble, its what Rikka Tindle does best.
Last year she won five out of six gold medals at the provincial gymnastics championships and the all-around gold at the Western Canadian Championships as a level four. This year she will be competing as a national novice and, if everything continues to go well, by next season she could easily be a member of the national junior high performance team.
Tindle recently finished 11 th overall at a World Olympic Gymnastics Academy classic in Dallas, Texas, competing against older and more experienced girls from across the U.S. and Mexico who were the equivalent of a national junior in Canada.
"She showed that she has what it takes to compete at the international level," says Marylou Tindle, Rikkas mother.
Last weekend, she finished fifth overall at the Flicka Gymnastics Club invitational ninth on vault, eighth on bars, fourth on beam, and fourth on the floor against national junior and senior level gymnasts.
"I didnt think I would do that well," says Rikka. "I mean, I thought I could do well, but not that well."
"This is just the start of her ranking on the national level," says Marylou. "Were really happy with these results. She could have gone junior this year, she did so well."
The 12-year-old gymnast currently divides her time between home and school in Whistler and the Flicka Gymnastics Club in North Vancouver, where she trains four days a week. She will be adding another day of training to prepare for the western qualifier and her shot at the national junior high performance team.
"It is pretty tough," says Rikka. "I want to make the westerns and nationals and do well at them."
Its a lot of travel and a lot of work, but her grades are excellent, the results are coming in, and a lot of people are doing what they can to help her along.
"Principal Rick Smith and all the Grade 7 teachers at Whistler Secondary have really accommodated her schedule," says Marylou.
"There will be a lot more pressure for Rikka as she gets closer to the national levels. You have to win those in order to do well."
Rikkas next competition is the Twister Gymnastics Club Invitational in Abbotsford in March, which is a trial to see who gets into the western championships in Regina, Saskatchewan from April 20 to 22. The national championships are being held in New Brunswick from May 20 to 27.
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