Corner Brook gymnast did his Level best

Kenn Oliver
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Published on March 23, 2010

Shania Caravan, 14, from Gracia Gymnastics, Deer Lake (Western). Coach Kerri Anstey looks on.

Published on March 23, 2010

Emily Bland of the Grand Falls-Windsor host team goes up for the kill against Mount Pearl/South during girls volleyball action at Exploits Valley High Sunday, March 21, 2010. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Bethany Parsons (11) of the Grand Falls-Windsor host team blocks a spike from Mount Pearl South's Michelle Compton during girls volleyball action at Exploits Valley High Sunday, March 21, 2010. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Mount Pearl/South's Michelle Compton spikes against the guard of the host team's Donna Jewer (1) and Bethany Parsons (11). - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Brad Manuel (7) of the Grand Falls-Windsor boys hocket team looks back to see St. John's/North goaltender Michael Collins sprawl to keep his backhand shot from crossing the line. St. John's would win the game at Windsor Stadium, 6-2. - Photo by Kenn Ol

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Figure skater Ashley Bishop, Mount Pearl South.

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Figure skater Shannon Lilly, Labrador City.

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Emma Holmes competes for St. John's/North in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games cross-country ski event at the Exploits Valley ski trails on Monday. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Aaron Andrews of Corner Brook and the Western team performs on the parallel bars Monday during the boys' gymnastic competition at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Corner Brook's Brian Brewer presents Pamela Budden with her medal after she clocked a time of five minutes and 16 seconds in her 500-metre Para-Nordic cross-country ski event at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor. -

Published on March 23, 2010

Fans of Exploits Valley High School, the Host team in the male volleyball competition at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games, cheer on the home side during the gold-medal match against Western Tuesday in Grand Falls-Windsor. Western won the fina

Published on March 23, 2010

Members of the Eastern female bowling team at the Provincial Winter Games include (front, from left) Melanie Avery and Emma Manning; (back, from left) Sarah Short, Cassie Bishop and coach Rosetta Avery. - Photo by Dave Newell/Transcontinental Media/The

Published on March 23, 2010

Nick Ash (2) and Jacob Lane (14) of the Gander Collegiate Concordes go up to block a smash by Patrick Churchill of the South West Arm Academy Tigers during the bronze-medal match in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games boys' volleyball competiti

Published on March 23, 2010

Central's James Collins (9) looks to pound the ball through a couple of Eastern blockers during the boys' volleyball bronze-medal final at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

The 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Western Male Volleyball Gold Medal Team. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

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The 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Eastern Male Volleyball Bronze Medal Team. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/The Telegram

Published on March 23, 2010

Labrador goaltender Kyla Penney gets ready to pounce on a loose puck as teammates Charlene Duffett and Shannon Kalanko keep Western's Kristen Cooze and Franchesca Gibbons at bay during female hockey action at the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter G

Published on March 23, 2010

Central region basketball coaches Ed Traverse (left) and Brian Kennedy get their Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games kits from volunteers Betty Boone and Gloria White (right) during Games turnaround day Wednesday in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by K

Published on March 23, 2010

Mount Pearl/South hockey player Carlee Jesso lugs her sticks, equipment and suitcase as she enters the girls' athletes village at Exploits Valley School in Grand Falls-Windsor, turnaround day at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Photo by Ke

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Central's Blanchard and Avalon's Cody MacTavish hook up in boys' wrestling action at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday. Thursday marked the first full day of action in the second half of the Games. - Photo by

Published on March 23, 2010

Members of the Labrador wrestling team at the Provincial Winter Games include (front row, left to right): Stephen Penashue, J.B. Andrew, Rodney Osmond and Matthew Nuna; back row (left to right): coach Brian Tucker, Alex Penashue, Clinton Rich, Nicholas

Published on March 23, 2010

Samantha Morey (centre) and Victoria Roberts of Central take on Mount Pearl/South, whose team includes Kiley Hynes (left) in girls' badminton action at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games Thursday in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Photo by Kenn Oliver/T

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2010 NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR WINTER GAMES

Aaron Andrews stood alone as the sole male artistic gymnastics competitor for the Western team at this week's Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.

And at the end of competition on Tuesday, the 11-year-old from Saltos Gymnastics in Corner Brook stood alone atop the podium, taking first place overall in the boys' individual competition.

Grand Falls-Windsor -

Aaron Andrews stood alone as the sole male artistic gymnastics competitor for the Western team at this week's Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.

And at the end of competition on Tuesday, the 11-year-old from Saltos Gymnastics in Corner Brook stood alone atop the podium, taking first place overall in the boys' individual competition.

"I think I did good," a humble Aaron said Monday before receiving his gold medal.

"I wasn't really practising Level 1."

John Andrews says his son, who started in a local recreation program about seven years ago, has been working towards his Level 2 and 3, but had the chance to compete in the Games at Level 1.

"He's been doing that quite regularly in Level 1," John says. "A couple of weeks ago, he came first overall in Level 2, a bit of a surprise to us."

Aaron, who got into the sport because he wanted to learn to cartwheel, spent a year playing minor hockey with his friends, but when a decision had to be made where to focus his athletic endeavours, the St. Gerard's student quickly made up his mind.

"Once it conflicted with gymnastics, he said 'hockey is gone, gymnastics isn't.' He really loves it," says John.

At home, he and sister Claire, a fellow Saltos gymnast, work on flexibility, and not without a flair for competitiveness, Dad attests.

"Claire doesn't like to lose and doesn't like when her brother beats her at anything."

Aaron is coached by Peter Ginn in Corner Brook, one of many coaches he's had over the years. His development in the sport, John says, has been hampered by a struggle to maintain male coaches at the small club.

"A few other coaches he's had in the past have gone on to different jobs or moved away. They slide out of Corner Brook when they get to the age where they're able to teach the higher level kids.

"We're struggling for coaches now and that's probably why he's not up to Level 4."

John says there are coaches in the region who are quite capable of instructing, but suggests they're not interested in working out of an old facility like the one the Saltos club uses.

"We're working on getting new facilities and bringing in some coaches," he said.

If they're successful in that regard, Aaron's aim is for the Canada Winter Games next year in Halifax.

"We'll see how that works before we decide if he'll enter the Games as a special participant who can do one or two events or if he can actually go in as a full member," said John.

"He's built for gymnastics. If we can get the coaching, he'll do very well."

And how does Aaron feel about a possible trip to Halifax next year.

"That'd be nice, a week of school missed," he said.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Corner Brook, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, Halifax Canada

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