The roar of the crowd was loud and only lasted a few seconds, but be sure, Red Deer’s Kalena Soehn heard it. After taking a second to compose herself, the 19-year old had her golden moment in front of the people she loves most.
Soehn, performing in the trampoline final at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, captured gold Monday in front of a large contingent of family and friends.
“I’m buzzing. Still shaking. The energy here was flowing through me,” said Soehn, moments after she scored a 51.170 to win the event.
From the moment she entered the Collicutt Centre, the hometown support was clear and loud. She was the final competitor in the eight-person final and said it added a little extra motivation but also required a bit more focus.
“I had to take a huge breath, say my routine and I hopped on and it turned out for the best,” added the Red Deer product who trains at Thunder Country Trampoline and Gymnastics.
“I feel like I could have done better, but considering how much energy there is right now, it was an amazing routine.”
Kalena’s coach, Keegan, who also happens to be her brother and a Pan-American Champion was beaming with pride when his sister finally settled after her last skill. He explained coaching was more nerve-racking than being a competitor, but he was maybe even more proud of his sisters’ win than any of his own.
“It was very nerve-racking for me, more nervous than I’ve ever been. Once I saw her in the middle of her routine, I settled down like she settled down, I saw her finish and I was very excited,” he said.
“As we were walking up to the trampoline when they let out the big roar, we could feel the energy from the crowd coming off. We took a minute by the tramp, as she was getting up and said ‘take a deep breath and don’t let all that energy overwhelm you.’ She did a good job of it.”
One other fan on the sideline included competitor Zach Blakely, who was in the male final and also trains in Red Deer at Thunder Country Gymnastics with Soehn.
“I had a really good warm up and I watched Kalena win gold, I was like I have to do something just as extravagant,” said Blakely.
“I knew the crowd was going to be big after Kalena, I knew I had to be on my best game and pull out all the stops.”
Blakley was ecstatic for his silver medal win, scoring 52.775, just below Remi Aubin of Quebec who was the last competitor of the final and put up a 55.630 to win gold. The 19-year-old Blakely added that on the first skill he under-rotated, so he had to adlib the rest of his routine from there.
“On the first skill, I was very under and normally that’s very bad for a routine. I was really scared I wasn’t going to finish it. I threw my arms up, did the skill I knew how to do and went off muscle memory,” he said.
“When I finished, it was the biggest rush. Just a big victory celebration.”