Okotokian soars into silver at worlds

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Thinking small had a big payoff for an Okotoks gymnast in her debut on the world stage.

Mackenzie Kyfiuk flew Okotoks’ Airborne Tumbling and Trampoline flag proudly in Eastern Europe as she struck silver in the women’s 17-21 double-mini trampoline at the Gymnastics Trampoline World Age Group Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“Because I’ve never competed against the whole world before, I just wanted to go out there and really wanted to land my new routine,” said Kyfiuk, a Grade 12 student at Holy Trinity Academy. “Once I did that, everything else was extra. I just wanted to do that one routine and it ended up being way more than that.”

The 17-year-old was sitting pretty in first place following her first-round routine and was bumped down slightly into second through two performances.

It was all going to come down to her final routine.

“I wasn’t focusing on the medal I was focusing on landing on my feet,” she said. “That was probably the best routine I had done that competition. I ended up sticking that one and getting a really high score and that kept me in second.”

Edmonton’s Alexandra Forest finished third in the event as the Canucks dominated the double-mini trampoline podium.

“The nerves weren’t too bad actually, I was just trying to have fun with it,” Kyfiuk said. “If I do crack under the nerves that’s when you do make mistakes. I just wanted to have fun with it and wanted to do all my passes the best I could.”

Kyfiuk’s final routine is one she’s been sharpening for years and an ideal performance to rely upon after earning her way into the final round with a more dynamic and challenging routine.

“I did a completely new routine in prelims which was the biggest routine I have ever done,” she said. “I ended up landing it really well and got a super high score and that was one of the main ones that put me into the finals.”

The Okotokian bounced her way into the age group event following her fourth-place finish at the 2017 Canada Championships. She’s also earned her way onto the junior national team where she receives funding to pursue her athletic dreams.

“Now it’s about getting bigger skills, getting more consistent and hopefully making the WAG (World Age Group) team for 2018,” she said. “I’m doing another year of junior, but hopefully next year I will go and make that senior national team.”

Kyfiuk returned to Canada with more than silverware.

The competition rekindled her passion for the sport.

“I kind of fell back in love with competing,” she said. “I had a little area in the past couple years where I didn’t really like competing and found it very stressful. I’ve fallen back in love with it, dealing with all the intensity and handling the pressure super well and I obviously saw the results from having fun with it.”

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