Having trained Canadian national team members since 2001, local coach Camille Martens knows what it takes to see that elusive dream become reality.
The former Olympic rhythmic gymnast has worked with Vernon’s Megan Hamilton for nine years and helped Hamilton make the junior national team, announced this week.
“Dreams don’t happen, they are made,” said Martens. “Megan has consistently shown that she knows exactly what that means. Her determination, focus, drive and openness to overcoming each obstacle, have paved a steady path to dreamland.
“By no means has Megan’s journey been a cakewalk. She has had to fight for her flexibility, her fluidity and her consistency. En route to this milestone, she has had to deal with some big disappointments. What makes her so special is her ability and will to turn trials into triumphs. Watching her shine so brightly in training and in competition is both a privilege and an honour.”
Hamilton, 15, missed making the national squad by a minuscule margin (0.05) last year.
“I was disappointed but determined not to make the same mistake again,” said Hamilton, a Grade 10 VSS student. “I had to learn to control my nerves when dealing with the pressure. It was especially hard when I knew what was possible.
“This year, I learned how to really compete consistently and I felt that I had control of my apparatus. My opportunities to represent Canada overseas twice this year, helped me feel much more confident. Competing at the World Cup in Hungary and seeing the big stars live was a dream come true.”
Hamilton not only competed at the world events, but had personal bests every time she stepped on the carpet. As a first-time team member, nobody anticipated that she would be able to turn in some of Canada’s best junior international scores of the year.
“In Grade 7, I wrote down my plan to make junior national team, and I told my coaches and family. This year I achieved each of the goals on that list and proved to myself the power of intention and hard work. I am so happy that I get a national team track suit.”
Hamilton placed second with her hoop routine at the nationals after setting a goal to podium (top-three).
“I am very proud of myself and I am so thankful for my coaches, my family and everyone who helped me to achieve my goal. I am blessed to have such a great circle of support.”
Since 2001, Martens and her team of coaches have led eight local girls to the national team. This year, they have trained local talent and have also hosted athletes from across the nation, the U.S., Mexico, Netherlands and Austria.
“Having international exposure through attending world events, and through athletes coming to us, gives our team a huge boost,” said Martens. “It gives our local athletes a feel for what is possible. It makes the world stage real and dreaming more fun.”