Flip City Gymnastics athlete Madeline Haugen has lofty aspirations in the high-flying sport of trampoline and tumbling.
In only her second year as a competitive athlete, the 10 year old has been awarded Stream Athlete of the Year.
Male and Female Athletes of the Year are chosen from a provincial stream, based on cumulative points in one competitive year.
Madeline stood on the medal podium for both the provincial championships and the Western Canadian Cup, propelling her scores to top position.
Subsequently, this recent accolade comes as no surprise to Madeline's coach Rusty Pierce.
"I could see that Maddy has great potential in tumbling and trampoline," said Pierce, who has been coaching at Flip City since its inception in 1998. "I encouraged her to try bigger skills even if it meant a mistake costing her a place on the podium."
Madeline chose to take the risk and it paid immediate dividends.
"How do I feel about it?" Pierce quipped. "Proud would be the first response, but because we did not really try to win competitions last year and were more concerned about preparing for the future, it paid off."
By not caring as much about the outcome, and concentrating on the process, such as technique and skill acquisition, Madeline won the bigger prize, Pierce noted.
This process/outcome debate is very important in gymnastics.
Getting the then nine year old to buy into it was important, Pierce said.
Pierce said he has always told his athletes to only focus on their own process, and let the results happen.
"If 10 kids beat you, then go and shake their hands to congratulate them and try harder next time," he said.
Pierce has been coaching artistic gymnastics and trampoline since 1975 in several B.C. clubs. Under his guidance, athletes have attended six world championships in trampoline, dating back to 2001.
Pierce was awarded the Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award for 2003, one of only three coaches in Canada that year, as a result of Flip City athlete Adam Menzies winning gold and silver at the world trampoline championships in Hanover, Germany in 2003.
Pierce's bio is as rich as his personality with achievements competing nationally and internationally for Team Canada.
As a competitive men's artistic (junior) gymnast, Pierce was a member of the Ontario team that competed at the Canadian nationals in 1968 and '69. He held the title as Canadian champion trampolinist in 1974 and '76, and Pierce has competed at two world championships and World Cup competitions for Canada.
He was on the first Canadian team to medal internationally in trampoline at the 1975 Nissen Cup in Berne, Switzerland.
Pierce attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a B.S.E in Engineering from U of M. He was also part of the NCAA championship gymnastics team in 1970.
Flip City Gymnastics is located in Walnut Grove at 20279 97th Ave.
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