(ISN) – Surrey’s Shallon Olsen took the Canada Winter Games silver medal in the female gymnastics all around event on Tuesday night in Prince George.
The 14-year-old fed off the energy and support of the standing room only crowd at the venue at UNBC.
“There was so much support at the event and all the seats were filled up,” she said. “It reminded me of competing at an international event – it was so exciting.”
Olsen went into the all around competition with confidence after picking up some hardware in the female team gymnastics event on Sunday, winning bronze for Team BC.
“It was awesome to have my team there cheering me on in the all around competition,” she said. “It’s funny because I try to focus and block out some of the cheering but at the same time, I like to listen because it gives me so much energy to hear people supporting me. I kept hearing, ‘come on Shallon, you can do this.’ “
After completing all four exercises: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor, Olsen’s combined score was good enough for the silver.
“I was so excited to win silver. I’m really proud of myself.”
Olsen finished first in the vault exercise after completing a nearly flawless double twisting yurchenko.
“I’ve been doing that vault since I was 10 so I felt really confident about it,” she said. “I took a small hop on my first vault but I stuck the landing on my second try and it felt amazing.”
Olsen became involved in gymnastics when she was just three years old.
“I was really hyper and bouncy when I was young and I could never sit still so my mom put me in gymnastics at the YMCA as a way to burn off my energy,” she recalled. “I ended up really enjoying it and started competitive gymnastics when I was seven.”
The silver medal is especially rewarding for Olsen because of the strength of her competition.
“We were so stoked to win the team bronze on Sunday because the other provinces were really strong,” she said. “It felt the same on Tuesday in the all around – the other competitors were really good so I’ very proud of myself and my team.”
Olsen will be back in competition on Thursday in the event finals. She qualified in all four events after a strong first day of competition.
“The rest of the competition will be a success for me if I try my best and have fun,” she said. “I plan on doing the very best that I can and will draw off the energy of the crowd.”