Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Commonwealth Games Rhythmics Memories

Angela Walker wins Gold Medal for rope routine Auckland  1990
Watching the Rhythmic Gymnastics from the Delhi Commonwealth Games took me back to my involvement in the Auckland Games a long time ago. I never thought I should be part of an international games  event as I am no sports person. I hate playing games as I hate losing and dislike winning as I feel sorry for the loser. This is not good for a sportsperson. You have to want to win at all costs!

My daughter loved Rhythmics and was very talented so it was natural that I got involved. To win at any sport means that you have to do everything your opponents  do plus a 'bit more' and at that time that 'bit more' meant ballet. The Bulgarians and Russians all learned ballet and it seemed to me if New Zealand was to feature in the medals our gymnasts had to learn ballet too. Canada were well into ballet but Australia wasn't. This would give us an edge.

I was asked by Marion Duncan, Angela Walker's coach if I could teach the squad on a weekly basis for the Auckland Games. I decided that the only way to teach them ballet was to do it properly so I embarked on the Royal Academy of Dancing Major Syllabus Course for professional ballet students starting with pre Elementary.

This is very basic but essential.  Angela Walker was the one who took this seriously. She never missed a class and by the end she was performing the RAD Intermediate Syllabus very competently.  This is  very challenging. Angel learned how to use her body beautifully as well as handle the equipment

Th Games was a bit of a disappointment. Although Marion and I had done the real coaching for the Games a special official coach was selected and Marion who was the NZTV commentator and I were demoted to  the gallery to watch although we had done the work. It was surreal to be a part and yet not part of a major world wide event. I had to beg and buy my ticket. I nearly did not get one!

The rest is history. Angela won a gold medal for her individual rope routine. It came as a surprise to all NZ as a gold had not been expected. The ceremony had to be postponed until the tape of the National Anthem arrived. I was so proud to see someone I had trained win a gold medal.

Late that night I heard a knock on my front door. When I opened the door I found Angela had been and left me her bouquet that was handed to her on the dais. You can see the ribbons in the picture above. It was such a kind and wonderful thing to do. I dried it and still have it as a memento which I get out proudly each Commonwealth Games as a status symbol!!!!

 Angela Walker was a joy to teach. She knew what she needed to do and did it and deserved her medal. In a small way I am  so proud I had part of her achievement.

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