Vernon freestyle skier Elena Gaskell has been named one of five winners of PacificSport Okanagan’s Community Sport Hero 2021 athletic excellence award. (Photo Submitted)

Vernon freestyle skier Elena Gaskell has been named one of five winners of PacificSport Okanagan’s Community Sport Hero 2021 athletic excellence award. (Photo Submitted)

Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil, Elena Gaskell, honoured for excellence

Tennis player and freestyle skier win PacificSport Okanagan awards

Two Vernon athletes have been recognized as community sports heroes.

Tennis star Vasek Pospisil and freestyle skier Elena Gaskell have been named winners of athletic excellence awards in PacificSport Okanagan’s Sport Hero Awards 2021.

Each day from March 1-5, PacificSport Okanagan’s website will spotlight one athlete, one coach and one local sport organization who have demonstrated excellence, innovation and leadership in 2020.

Pospisil’s story was posted Tuesday, March 2.

Pospisil had what many people might call a “comeback year” in 2020.

In fact, he earned the title both figuratively and literally, given the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) award he received in 2020, “The Comeback Player of the Year Award,” which is voted on by his own professional tennis playing peers.

Pospisil accumulated numerous impressive competitive outcomes in 2020, including reaching two tournament finals during the shortened season after undergoing back surgery the year before.

“What Vasek has done for Canada and for the Okanagan in the past, it just speaks for itself, including where he’s got the best results,” said Pospisil’s proud father, Milos, in the video created by Sam Charles. “He is very passionate about representing Canada and obviously when he represents Canada he’s also representing B.C. and the Okanagan, where he was born.

Pospisil grew up in Vernon until he was 12 years old, practising on public courts at the old Vernon Secondary School. The family bought a house just for that reason: to be close to the tennis court.

“The Okanagan was really where he learned his tennis. It’s our home and people were nice and have been supportive through our journey,” said Milos.

“For his impressive post-recovery comeback, and for managing the stressors of professional sport and the challenges this past year, we congratulate Vasek Pospisil for his resilient attitude and perseverance as a Community Sport Hero,” said PacificSport Okanagan.

Gaskell has been a member of Canada’s national freestyle ski team since 2016. Gaskell started in the sport at age seven at Vernon’s Silver Star Freestyle Club.

She has excelled at the World Cup level, and was “able to make some podiums, she won the Crystal Globe for the overall Big Air World Championship” in the past two years. She takes the role of being a mentor to some of the young girls that are coming up as a key responsibility.

This past year was a tough one for Gaskell with limited opportunities to train and compete, experiencing an injury, so she has had to work hard to find new ways to still feed that “ferociousness and determination that she just really wants to excel and do well. The Beijing 2022 Olympics are the next big milestone, so it’s a qualifying year this year, and she’s been just overcoming an injury.

For her mental perseverance in the face of adversity, and working on recovery to a comeback and modelling her leadership skills for the skiers who look up to her, we recognize Elena Gaskell as a Community Sport Hero.

READ MORE: Vernon’s Vasek Pospisil part of Canadian tennis history

READ MORE: Vernon’s Elena Gaskell to shred World Championships



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Local SportsskiingTennis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Pexels photo)
Okanagan film boom owes to industry’s strong pandemic response: Sandhu

Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu lauded the local film industry’s adaptation to the pandemic

The City of Vernon is still taking applications for council discretionary grants until April 30. (File photo)
Funding available to Vernon non-profits, societies

Grants awarded to organizations that ‘contribute to the general interest and advantage of the city;’ deadline is April 30

A sani-dump station is coming to the frontage road off Okanagan Landing Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
New Vernon sani-dump station raises a stink among neighbours

Temporary relocation to Okanagan Landing with future plan at former Kin racetrack

The Wild Oak Cafe in Armstrong is one of the available squares in the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce's Bingo game to support local businesses. (Facebook)
Bingo boosts Armstrong eateries

Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber launches #BoostOurBiz featuring bingo card which would win you prizes

Vernon Fire Rescue Services will conduct a controlled burn in the Foothills area Friday, April 16. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Controlled Foothills burn cancelled

Vernon Fire Rescue Services had planned for a controlled burn in Foothills on Friday, April 16

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Missy MacKintosh, founder of MisMacK Clean Cosmetics, smiles broadly beneath her mask as she is thrilled to have opened her new storefront location at 231 Alexander St. in Salmon Arm on April 10, 2021. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Downtown Salmon Arm store ‘a dream come true’ for clean cosmetics owner

Missy MacKintosh’s MisMack Clean Cosmetics moves from home basement to storefront

A member of the Oliver Fire Department works on the wildfire near the Cottages at Osoyoos Lake on Tuesday night. The fire is believed to have been caused by a human. (Oliver Fire Department Facebook)
UPDATE: Osoyoos wildfire believed to be human-caused

The Oliver Fire department also responded to another fire along the hike and bike trail on Saturday

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

desert hills estate winery grapes
Osoyoos winery back in business after clean bill of health

Desert Hills chose to temporarily close after a close contact tested positive for COVID

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Most Read