Saturday, April 05, 2008


On March 22nd, 2008 I did my first Vault in since August 26th, 2007.

That was almost 7 months in the making.

We had a training camp with Edouard at Calgary Gymnastics Centre and I decided that on this particular Saturday morning I was going to get over that table! I think my main motivation was that I was off to Oakville the next day to spend some time with Kelly and to tape CBC's "Test the Nation" and I wanted to leave Eddie with a good impression!

It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in a long time. Flying down the runway and flipping over the table is something that I had taken for granted before my injury, but not anymore!

I almost forgot how incredible it felt... Not quite, but almost! As a gymnast, you get a special feeling when you are standing at the end of the vault runway. Your breathing gets shorter and your heart beats faster. Your eyes are peeled on the table 25 meters down the run way. It's the epitome of single minded focus! It's just you and the apparatus. You are filled with adrenaline because you know that for the next 4 seconds you are going to have to be as quick and powerful as you possibly can. You have to explode out of the starting blocks! But, you also have to maintain some sort of control so that you can be precise in your movements. You get a rhythm as you run down (I noticed that my rhythm was totally off for the first few) and you trust that your steps are going to put you in the perfect place to hurdle towards the board. I start my run at 24.65 meters. Yes, that extra 5 cm makes a difference! haha. I take my board at 50cm. I put my hand mat at 1 of my feet plus an inch and a bit away from the board. Oh yes, it is very precise. There is no messing around!

You know what was a little weird though? I almost forgot my ritual. It had been so long since I had set my board. But once I set it a few times there was an amazing sense of belonging and comfort in it. It felt like I was home.

Within a couple of vaults, my run felt pretty normal (except for the plate burn...which is becoming normal) and I gained confidence with each turn.

It was a great way to end the camp. It was also sort of vindicating for me because it was another accomplished milestone in this comeback process.

The next morning I was off to Oakville. I was really excited to see Kelly and to show him my progress! I knew that he would be impressed!

I was also super excited that I had another event to train!!!

I was so excited that I vaulted everyday!

(This is a Yurchenko Double Twist)

And within 3 days, I was back to my old self.

(This is a Yurchenko 2.5. That's right gym fans...a Shewfelt. I had this move named in my honour after I competed it at the 2000 Olympic Games. I was the very first gymnast to perform this skill in World or Olympic competition and therefore I got it named after me!)

I can't say that it didn't hurt. I still feel like I am running on one and a half legs, but it did feel better each and every one. I have a sneaky suspicion that I am going to be in a bit of pain for the next while, but the great thing now is that I am able to haul my ass down there and decently flip over the table.

That, my friends, is called progress. And we all know how much I love PROGRESS!!!!!!!

Boo yah.

It was a wonderful week hanging out with Kelly, Sue and Barrett again. I miss them tons. I always seem to come back to Calgary with such a great attitude after I spend some time there. My favourite part about spending time with Kelly is that he knows me so well. He knows when I need a push and he knows when I need a compliment. He is my comfort; and right now, with all of the discomfort I am experiencing with the changes in my life, he has a way of reminding me of who I am. When everything you thought you knew does a 180, you can sometimes feel lost and confused. My time with Kel allowed me some time to escape, to get away from the insanity that is my current life and to just focus on gymnastics. It's exactly what I needed.

Now I am home, I have the keys to my new place and the stressful process that is called 'moving' has begun! I am trying to keep a steady pace and make it as stress free as possible, but for those of you who have ever moved, you know that the unexpected always happens!!!! My plan is to be fully moved into my new place by April 16th (I hired movers for that day so I better be ready!). I can't wait until it is all said and done. It will be a huge weight off of my shoulders.

Not to worry though. My priorities are in line. I'm just excited about a time (soon!) when all I have to worry about is what I will have for dinner after I'm done evening training! That will be so nice!



Rick said...

Only 3 days.

That's a great sign that your body remembers what to do, even after months of not doing it.

Likely mental training is almost as good.


Dylan Glynn said...

this is so freaking exciting.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it OK to even consider sacrificing athletes' dreams on behalf of making a statement?"

Your words are truly naive, Kyle. To think of only the sacrifices YOU'VE made to compete belittles the sacrifices others have made to entreat you.

Mind you, I am not admonishing you, nor am I saying that you should boycott the Beijing games. I am merely pointing out your statement glosses the reality that many Chinese families were uprooted from their homes to make room for some public facilities to support the Olympic 'city' or whatever it is called.

If you are the Great public speaker that your website claims you to be, then I would have expected a much more mature comment coming from your mouth (pen).

In the future, I expect you will be more careful with your 'selfish' concerns before posting them.

When you do go (if you go), I hope that you will do the Chinese people the honor of thanking them for THEIR SACRIFICES. Yes?!

Peace. And best of luck at the games.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Those vaults were AMAZING!!! Your work ethic is truly inspring. Congrats on your successful progress.

All the best for future breakthroughs!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Kyle!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on comming back! I have followed what happened with your injury. I am so sorry! I know you from Gym Jam camp in California 2005, at UCLA. I was the little kid (Brandon) that cried all week. You and Kelly were so awesome to be around. Really positive!! I am still training (With coach Tristian) and just finished my level 7 season. Floor is my best event, and you should know that you inspired that! I don't know if you remember me but I want you to know that I am really happy you are back and going for Bejing! I am cheering you on all the way!! Keep up the awesome work!! Brandon