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Airdrie gymnast retires after decade, world championship

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 12:43 pm

Airdrie gymnast Corissa Boychuk has announced her retirement following a 10-year career.
Airdrie gymnast Corissa Boychuk has announced her retirement following a 10-year career.
File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

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As she finished up her final routine in the individual double mini trampoline event at the World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2013, Airdrie gymnast Corissa Boychuk knew she had just completed her last event in her competitive career.

The 24-year-old wrapped up her time in the sport shortly after that event, and made her decision public earlier this month following a 10-year career based out of the Airdrie Edge Gymnastics Club.

“It’s been a couple of years in the making, and as I was making my way through this last year, I was trying to make a decision of when I was going to end things,” Boychuk said. “I did know that I was finished when I came back from the World Championships in November, but I wasn’t ready to officially announced (it) then.”

“It’s hard as an amateur athlete to work full-time and to train full-time, as it becomes really exhausting to do everything after awhile,” she added.

“It was becoming hard to keep things up mentally doing that, and that was one of the main things that led to my final decision.”

When Boychuk returned from the World Championships in Bulgaria, which took place on Nov. 7 to 10, 2013, she took a couple of weeks off from training before returning to the gym for one last training session prior to calling it a career.

“Since I already knew at that time that I was going to be retiring, I used those weeks off to come to terms with my retirement and then inform everyone that I trained with that I was going to be finishing up,” she said.

“Besides my family and close friends who knew what was happening, I had kept things under wraps leading into the World Championships, so I think it was a shock for a lot of the people that I train with.”

Jamie Atkin, who had been Boychuk’s coach for nearly a decade, was very appreciative of the fact that she took her time before making her final decision and understood why she was stepping away from the sport, though he admits that it’s been an adjustment not training with her on a regular basis.

“It’s an end of an era for sure,” Atkin said. “I have been coaching and training with Corissa five days a week for the last 10 years, and while I’m used to athletes retiring over the course of my 20 years as a coach, everyone leaves an impact.”

“I can tell already that we miss her at the gym as she is a fantastic athlete and a great person, and not seeing her on a daily basis is something that is really noticeable,” he added.

After taking a year off from competition in 2012 to devote herself full-time to training, Boychuk’s 2013 season was a successful one, which was highlighted by a pair of silver medals.

In August, she finished in second place in the individual double mini trampoline event at the World Games in Colombia, and earned a team silver medal at the World Championships in Bulgaria three months later.

“I progressed in every event that I took part in, and I felt that I was in a good place mentally throughout the year,” Boychuk said. “It was a dream of mine to go to the World Games, and to go there a second time and earn a silver medal was a major accomplishment.”

“At the World Championships, I was the veteran on the team with the rest of the girls being newcomers, so it was a really exciting to be in that role,” she added. “I helped the team earn a medal and I finished in fifth place in the individual event, and it felt like the best possible way that I could go out.”

Looking back on her career, Boychuk is proud of her progression in the sport from being an ‘out-of-control’ competitor to one that was representing Canada on an international stage in the double mini trampoline event.

“People have told me that they were terrified to watch me when I was starting out 10 years ago, as I was flying around all over the place,” she recalled. “I know exactly what they are talking about as well, as I was the one who was crashing out there.”

“As I gained more experience, being able to represent Canada was a major thrill,” Boychuk added. “Winning gold with my fellow Airdrie teammate Paula Parkyn at my first age-group internationals in 2007 was a very exciting moment, along with winning the world title in 2010 in France and capturing a world team gold medal in England a year later.”

Coach Atkin, said the most memorable moments that he had with Boychuk were not the times that she came away with medals, but when the Airdrie native worked her way through difficulties to achieve success.

“Obviously, I was always proud of her when she did well on the world stage, but those were in a way the least memorable for me because those were the events where everything went straight forward,” he said.

“There were a number of times where we had to work through different challenges, such as minor injuries that she had, and she stepped up to the plate and worked through it on multiple occasions.”

While Boychuk is now focusing fully on her career as a veterinary assistant for Veterinary Agri-Health Services in Airdrie, in addition to keeping her competitive juices flowing by training at Crossfit 403 here, she still plans to be involved in the sport of gymnastics in another way.

“I was certified to become a judge a couple of months ago, and my first event that I will be judging will be the Alberta Cup event here on Feb. 1 and 2,” Boychuk said.

“I didn’t think this was something I would ever end up doing, and while I’m a little nervous, I’m really looking forward to it as I will have the best seat in the house for the double mini trampoline event.”

“I’m also certified to be a coach, which was something that I did before I started to focus more on the competitive side of things,” she added. “I would love to coach once again, but I think that will be something that I will do further down the line.”


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