Westport Y Gymnasts to showcase in Finland


Aileen Coyne, Staff Writer

In mid July, the Westport YMCA Exhibition Gymnastics team will pack up their leotards and hop on a plane to Finland for the World Gymnaestrada.

The World Gymnaestrada is run by the International Federation of Gymnastics and is the largest gymnastic event in the world, held for eight days every four years. It is always held the year before the Olympic Games and each exhibition is held in a different country.

According to the World Gymnaestrada website, its purpose is to, “gather together all level of gymnasts from different disciplines to offer unforgettable memories and sensations for each and every one.” The event will host more than 25,000 gymnasts from 50 countries.

According to coach Sally Silverstein, in order to travel with USA Gymnastics to Finland, the group must be ranked as one of the top exhibition teams in the country. The Westport Y Exhibition team won gold at the USA Nationals Gymfest last year in Florida which secured their place for Finland.

“I’m most excited to just experience different cultures and be able to compete internationally. Being with all the different countries and teams is gonna be really cool,” Aisling Kelly ’20 said about her upcoming trip.

In order to prepare for the international event, the exhibition team has been stepping up their practice schedule. “We have been preparing since last fall and intense practices have started in January. We practice Saturday and Sunday mornings for three hours each,” Fatima Alanis ’17 said.

The gymnasts will have the opportunity to work with choreographers from Brazil and Chile and even perform a closing number with varying teams from South America.

“The team becomes a very close family after a trip like this,” Silverstein said. “It’s once in a lifetime.”