Trillium gymnast prepares for final competition

Share Adjust Comment Print

Fifteen-year-old Paige Cassidy is preparing for retirement.

But she’s no long-in-the-tooth athlete.

Paige Cassidy of the Trillium Gymnastics Club works out on Wednesday April 24, at her club in preparation for the Eastern Canadian Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Summerside, P.E.I., May 9-12 2019. (Debbie MacNevin/For The Whig-Standard) jpg, KI

Cassidy, a Trillium Gymnastic Club gymnast, is leaving the sport near the top of her game and has one more competition to conquer before calling it a career.

Cassidy won gold Level 7 16-plus division all-around competition at the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Level 7-10 Provincial Championships earlier this month in Amherstburg, which qualified her for the 2019 Eastern Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Summerside, P.E.I., May 9-12.

She will be competing in the open all-around division, which consists of the vault, uneven parallel bars, floor exercise and balance beam.

“I’m just trying to get through all the events and do my very best in all of them,” Cassidy said recently while working at her home club. “I’ve been training hard so I hope it shows in competition.”

She said her strength is the floor routine, and she wants to improve her bar performance before departing for Prince Edward Island.

Her coach, Shelley Lee, said Cassidy was good at her all-around performance at the provincial competition.

“She has a lot of abilities, but sometimes she doesn’t always hit four-for-four and can be inconsistent when she competes,” Lee said. “This time, she went through all her events with no mistakes.”

Cassidy, who has been a member of Trillium since she was a very little girl, started competitive gymnastics around the age of 12. Most gymnasts begin competing a few years earlier.

“She has a lot of ability so picked it up quickly and it was her first year in a higher level,” Lee said.

Cassidy thought her retirement would come sooner, but her performance at the provincials extended her season and career.

Paige Cassidy of the Trillium Gymnastics Club works out on Wednesday, April 24, at her club. (Debbie MacNevin/For The Whig-Standard) jpg, KI

Which also means she’s back in the gym 18 hours a week training for her next and last competition.

“It’s an awesome sport. My entire life has been gymnastics, so it’s fun,” she said.

“It teaches you discipline, it gives you strength, it taught me how to manage my work time at school and my training time, so it’s lots of life skills. All my friends are here, I’ve known my coaches for like, ever, so they’re like my second parents.”

For this competition, she’ll be graded on each individual event of balance beam, uneven parallel bars, floor exercise and vault as well as an overall score.

She hopes to be consistent in all of the disciplines.

As for this competition, she plans to “give it her all.”

“I gave my last one my all that was going to be my last competition ever, but since I qualified for this then I have another one,” she said.

Cassidy wants to attend Queen’s University or Western University to study sports medicine.

Lee, who has coached gymnastics for more than 30 years, calls Cassidy an easy-going athlete.

“She’s easy to coach, comes to gym regularly, good consistent attendance and great work ethic,” she said.

“She’s been a great role model. We have a great group of older girls and it’s really great for the younger ones because all the little ones have someone to look up to.”