Nelson gymnast captures gold at BC Winter Games

Brianne Stefani tied for first in the floor event, finished fourth in beam.

Nelson's Brianne Stefani (left) won gold at the BC Winter Games.

Nelson gymnast Brianne Stefani captured the gold medal on the floor event at the BC Winter Games in Penticton.

Stefani performed a high back layout in her first tumbling pass to a perfect stick, and in her second tumbling pass she fought hard not to take a step.

“It was obvious that Brianne had a goal of locking up a top three finish at the Games,” said Stefani’s coach, Sandra Long. “She fought for every landing and performed all of her skills with maximum amplitude.”

Stefani’s routine earned a 9.6, which put her in a tie for first. One other gymnast also scored a 9.6, making a three-way tie for the gold medal at the Games, which ran Feb. 25 to 28.

“It was wonderful to see all three girls up on the podium to receive the gold medal,” said Long. “They all had near perfect performances and they all deserved to be up there.”

Stefani, 11, initially placed 11th overall in the Level 7 category and qualified for the floor event finals in second place and the beam event finals in third place.

“The point spreads between first and fourth was two tenths of a point in both events,” said Long. “We knew going into the finals that Brianne’s routines would need to be close to perfect in order to get on the podium.”

Unfortunately, Stefani had a couple of small wobbles and a step during the beam event finals, which dropped her into fourth place. Nelson’s Glacier Gymanstics Club’s members are still very proud of Stefani’s beam performance, which missed securing the bronze medal by two tenths. “One less wobble and the results would have been in Brianne’s favour,” said Long.

The disappointment of the beam final results helped pump Stefani up for the floor event final. “I was so close,” said Stefani. “It made me want to perform my best floor routine. We had to wait two hours for the floor final. It was torture. I just wanted to get out there and tumble.”

Stefani is already planning to attend the next BC Winter Games in two years. She will need to move up into the Level 8 category in order to compete at the next Games. “I am already planning out my routines for the next Winter Games,” said Stefani. “I’m excited get back into the gym and start working on new Level 8 skills.”

Stefani will start adding new more advanced skills into her routines for the BC Provincial Championships, which takes place April 15 to 17 in Langley. Long said that they will use the provincials as a stepping stone into Level 8.

“Brianne is a very motivated and hardworking gymnast,” said Long. “I’m confident that she will be able to achieve any future goals that she sets for herself.”

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