Emily King was happy to have her team cheering her on. The 14-year-old Whitehorse gymnast has traveled to larger meets in the South, but this weekend 21 of her teammates competed in a gymnastics invitational for the first time and they did it at home.
The Polarettes and Polar Tumblers Gymnastics Club hosted the Midnight Sun Invitational. 130 athletes from Yukon, Alaska, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia were in Whitehorse this weekend to compete.
"It's really nice having the home stage feel and have the crowd cheering for you. It's just a family friendly feel," said King.
Saturday afternoon featured higher level athletes, including King. They competed in four events — uneven bars, vault, balance beam and floor exercise.
Polarettes head coach Kimberly Jones said it felt amazing to host the competition in Whitehorse.
"It's been an idea for a really long time for our club, so it's been great to finally pull it together," she said.
This meet also marked the first time the club used new equipment purchased through the Community Development Fund. It was awarded $82,364 to upgrade its equipment.
It's something that's needed with a sport that is growing rapidly in Whitehorse, according to Jones.
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"It's very humbling knowing how far I've come and how much work they can do to get to this place. I hope I can inspire them by being here,"
She said there are now 950 athletes with the club, plus school groups and birthday parties and a long wait list.
Two-time Olympic gymnast Brittany Rogers was also in town for the competition. Rogers hosted a Q&A with gymnasts over the weekend and acted as emcee for the floor exercise competition.
"I think it's great what Kim has done, putting on this amazing competition for girls who don't really get this type of experience," she said.
Rogers was swarmed by young girls looking for her to sign their backpacks and hoodies.
"It was inspiring. I was once their age and once their level too," she said.
"It's very humbling knowing how far I've come and how much work they can do to get to this place. I hope I can inspire them by being here," said Rogers.
Jones said the club is going to take two weeks and then decide on the future of the meet.
"We'd like to host it again for sure. We're just not sure if it will be annual yet," she said.