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Glacier's Van Hellemond steals spotlight in Idaho

Dafni van Hellemond won the prestigious honour of participating in the Finale Exhibition Show last month.
The Glacier Gymnastics team won three team championships and 41 medals at a meet south of the border last month.

A Nelson gymnast was singled out for her performance at an international competition last month.

Dafni van Hellemond won the prestigious honour of participating in the Finale Exhibition Show in Coeur d'Alene Idaho, which ran Feb. 24 to 26.

Only 28 gymnasts out of 1,400 competitors at the Great West Gymfest were selected to perform a floor routine in the big show.

Van Hellemond earned her spot by scoring a 9.5 for her graceful and dynamic floor routine.

"This is the first time one of our gymnasts has won an opportunity to participate in the show," said Glacier Gymnastics head coach Sandra Long. "This was a very special experience that is not available for most athletes. To perform in front of an audience of over a thousand is an experience of a lifetime."

Van Hellemond was one of 26 gymnasts from Nelson's Glacier Gymnastics team to compete at the four-day competition. Some of the biggest and best gymnastics club's in the U.S. and Canada were in attendance and Glacier gymnasts managed to hold their own, taking home three team championships and 41 medals.

"This competition was a motivating experience for our gymnasts," said Long. "The calibre of gymnastics in the United States is first class and our gymnasts fit right in with this high standard."

The gymnasts competing in the EXCEL Gold category brought home the first place team award for their collective highest overall score, the EXCEL Silver team won fourth place team, and Glacier's Junior Olympic Team competed against 17 teams and won the sixth-place team award.

Long said this competition shows that competitive gymnastics in Nelson is on the right track.

"With the continued hard work and dedication from our gymnasts, parents and coaches our young gymnasts will continue to achieve excellence."