Friday, Feb. 9th - When Sarah Roy said her 10-year-old daughter Lauryn “ . . . came into this world determined . . .”, it may have been a bit of an understatement. Lauryn Roy, it turns out, is a lot more than the imagination depicts around the word 'determined'.
On Friday afternoon at a gymnastics venue in Orleans, ON., South Dundas’ Lauryn Roy pursed her lips in a tight squeeze, threw every ounce of her 77.6 pounds and every inch of her 4-foot 5-inch frame into the four mandatory routines as set out by the gymnastics organizing body for provincial qualifiers, and scored a 1st-place on Vault, 1st-place on Beam, 1st-place on Floor, 2nd-place on Bars and finished with a 1st-place Over-All. Lauryn, with a birth-date in December, is competing in the 11-year-old group,
Ten-year-old Lauryn is the middle of three Roy children. Chris and Sarah are active and busy parents with 12-year-old Austin who is the eldest and a hockey player, 7-year-old Paige is the youngest and hopes to enter competitive gymnastics “like yesterday”. Lauryn is a Grade 5 student at St. Mary St. Cecilia Separate School in Morrisburg, a strong student who loves the new robotics program, her part in the yuklele band, science, and would rather be spending a lot more time enjoying art than ever looking at math again.
"I don't really like math! No, I mean I r-e-a-l-l-y don't like math!!"
This young lady’s Gymnastics training requires 16-hours every week, preceded by a long drive to Nepean Corona School of Gymnastics where she works out under the tutelage of coaches Andrew Kwok and Ying Zhang. Lauryn and her Mom, Sarah, leave school daily at 2:45 p.m., she works on homework on the way to the gym and returns home, “. . . sometime around 9:00, or no, it’s ten or fifteen after nine,” each evening.
“I first started gymnastics when we lived in Sudbury,” explains this articulate and well spoken youngster, adding, “I’m actually very clumsy and thought it would help.” She hesitates as though she is pondering a thought, and a broad and devilish smile stretches across her face. Then, with precise timing she adds, “So far it hasn’t,” and openly starts a belly laugh.
Lauryn says she tried out for hockey but didn’t enjoy it and in an effort to get out of the game she refused to follow practice routines. “I had some discipline problems like not doing what the coaches told me too,” she offers, “They didn’t give me trouble because they thought I was very cute but they did tell my Mom that hockey was not my sport.” And so ended that sporting career.
This youngster loves to discuss her part in gymnastics, offering “When you understand how gymnastics really works you can see I am very powerful and very fast and
I can just pop off the vault very well.”
Drawing a second breath she adds, “My power is good for a front tuck, (which she explains is a flip) or a round-off (reverse tuck using both feet - but we’re already lost and simply enjoying this conversation and those sparkly, devilish eyes - remember she’s 10-years-old) or a back hand spring.”
“My power comes from my shoulders,” Lauryn says pointing at her shoulder while flexing her arms, “And that’s also why vault is my strongest event.”
Well we didn’t know any of that. But we were about to witness it first hand . . .
As Lauryn’s team marches into the gym, streaming onto the floor with a number of competitor groups all in blazing color schemes, her attention and preparedness are
astonishingly focused. Lauryn’s physical size is comparatively on the smaller side of the group, but she too is one of the younger competitors. She does not seek out her Mom for a wave and a
smile of encouragement, she is focusing on warm-up, the coaches directives, and her turn approaching the vault. And her description of her ability to "fit" in this discipline is spot
Lauryn almost flys down the runway, her muscular legs are driving like pistons to attain speed. There is a locked look of determination and focus frozen on her face, those green-brown eyes are burning into the cushion atop the vault stand where her small hands will land, cushion and launch her flip up and over and to the landing area. She sails into the air, and as though she is gracefully floating out the routine in slow motion, her hands hit the padding, her legs reaching straight toward the ceiling, and her feet tight together. Lauryn sails up and over in a beautiful arc, lands almost quietly on the cushioned floor, snaps her arms into an upward ‘V’ with her hands outstretched, chin up and a beautiful smile. And she is gone, flitting back to the starting line to join teammates. And watching as the scoreboard flashes a 9.250!
Lauryn Roy will perform the vault discipline twice, as do all competitors. Three judges at each of the areas jot scores and notes, all designed to seek out the best in the sport.
This time around, 10-year-old Lauryn finished the Ontario Level 5 - 11 Years competition 1st in Vault (9.250), 2nd in Bars (8.550), 1st in Beam (9.650), and 1st in Floor (9.400). Those scores gave her a 36.850 total score for 1st place in the Over-All Standings (36.850).
“Last year was my first big competition and it was at Tumbler’s also,” Lauryn says, “I won some medals.” She admits to not remembering the scores and medal's details clearly.
In all of her explaining and answering concerning her accomplishments, Lauryn Roy speaks in a manner from which one understands she is competing to be a better gymnast in herself. She never once mentions beating or besting anyone else. She speaks in a fairness well beyond her years, of improving her own performance.
This young South Dundas athlete will compete in two more events later this year. There is an event in April at her home club in Nepean and a second event in Kingston weeks later.
Lauryn, speaking like an old soul while awaiting her brother’s hockey game to finish on Saturday of this week, said she will be looking forward to training for the upcoming events but that Saturdays and Sundays are family days and she enjoys “. . doing stuff with my brother and sister and my Mom and Dad on those days.”
Asked how she felt about her accomplishments on Friday at Tumblers she says, “It was a change from last year!” Her eyes widen, “This time I got five medals,” and with a huge smile and lots of sparkle in those mischievous eyes she shrugs and adds, “Getting a medal for 1st-Overall is really good. I was feeling pretty cool!”
A winning performance on the vault . . . enjoy . . .