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Rankin gymnasts on world stage

Lisa Kresky couldn’t have asked for anything more to end her 15-year run as founder and head coach with the Aqsarniit Ujauttaq (Northern Lights) gymnastics club in Rankin Inlet then seeing “her girls” perform at the World Gymnaestrada in Dornbirn, Austria, from July 7 to 13.

The colourful teacher and coach announced at the end of the past school term that she would not be returning to Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet for the coming semester.

Kresky started teaching in Rankin Inlet in 2003 and founded the Aqsarniit Ujauttaq gymnastics club in February of 2004.

Members of the Aqsarniit Ujauttaq (Northern Lights) gymnastics club in Rankin Inlet join other members of Team Canada in having their photo taken in front of the mascot for the World Gymnaestrada in Dorbrin, Austria, on July 10, 2012. Photo courtesy of Lisa Kresky

A total of 65 countries were represented at the World Gymnaestrada, with more than 18,000 participants taking part in the event.

Representing Rankin’s Aqsarniit Ujauttaq club were Yzabell MacDonald, Abigail MacDonald, Kortni McKay, Allison McKay, Maya Hidalgo, Latasha Nirlungayuk, Aeyeshan Joy Libatique, Reagan Tattuinee, Bailey Green, Josie Panika, Kylie Mae Aksalnik, Caroline Gibbons, Nefretiri Innukshuk, Rachel Tutanuak, Audrey Fredlund, Lexus Dion, Vestal Netser and Kyrene Angootealuk.

When reached by Kivalliq News in Dornbirn, Austria, last week, Kresky said her young athletes absolutely loved performing at the event.

She said the girls also enjoyed all the sightseeing they were able to do during their trip.

“Other than all the boys, who our girls thought were oh so cute, when we asked the girls to name their favourite part of the trip a lot of them said performing,” said Kresky with a slight giggle.

“They were performing in front of crowds of thousands of people and they were loving every minute of it.”

Kresky said her young gymnasts held-up well to the time constraints of a hectic schedule.


Members of the Aqsarniit Ujauttaq (Northern Lights) gymnastics club in Rankin Inlet perform with other participants at the World Gymnaestrada in Dorbrin, Austria, on July 12, 2019. Photo courtesy of Melaine Saculles

She said the first two days were a little tough due to the time change and lack of sleep, but, once past that, the girls just kept getting more and more excited each day.

“They just love meeting people from so many different countries around the world,|” she said.

“The event is all about gymnastics for all and, this year, it featured all ages, all levels of performance, and all cultural backgrounds.

“It’s actually tough to come-up with the words to describe just how amazing this event – which is not a competition but all about performance – really is.

“The fact it’s all about performance adds a whole new level of camaraderie and friendship between everyone here, and I think that’s really special.”

Kresky said it was really hard to fathom the scope of the event with so many participants from so many countries.

She said until you’re there and actually see it, there’s no way anyone can “get it” through just words.

“We performed in a routine on July 11 with almost 2,000 other gymnasts from around the world.

“Where else would you get the opportunity to do something like that? To see all these people come together from around the world to do a routine – it’s pretty amazing.

“Our dream as a club was to go to the events in Las Vegas, Vancouver, B.C., and the world’s in Dornbrin and, look at us, we made all three.

“This has all been for the girls, but it’s also been a wonderful way for me to finish my time with them in Rankin Inlet, especially with spending five days in Paris, France, on our way home to Rankin Inlet on July 20.”