Local tumbler Hector Loiselle (Sudbury Laurels - GymZone Gymnastics) has definitely put himself in solid position for a potential second international competition appearance later this year.
After cracking the roster of a Team Canada gymnastics squad that competed in Bulgaria last November, the 15 year-old grade ten student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School has just returned from nationals in Edmonton with gold - despite making another jump in levels this year.
"I've levelled up to junior now," noted Loiselle about a week or so before leaving to compete in Alberta for a second straight summer (2022 T & T nationals were hosted in Calgary). "Expectations are maybe a little bit higher, because it's my second nationals and people have seen what I have done before."
As with any elite athlete who achieves success, Loiselle knows all too well that progress and development know no upper limit.
"I feel like I am not exactly where I wanted to be, but not too far behind," he acknowledged. "Numbers-wise, I am kind of where I want to be in terms of my degree of difficulty - but the things I am doing to get that degree of difficulty is not exactly what I wanted to do."
"I would like to have skills that are cleaner but with the same degree of difficulty."
"For my age, I have a high degree of difficulty, but my execution is a little bit less than some people, or equal to some people," added Loiselle.
Still a couple of years away from qualifying to compete at the "senior" level, the multi-sport athlete who also enjoyed a handful of very competitive winters as a speedskater and captured gold in the novice boys 100m hurdles race in May at the city high-school championships is pleased that he is still fine-tuning his tumbling runs with every passing year.
"I do a transition, which is a double back-flip and you keep going after with a back-flip," he said. "I am pretty happy to have that in my routines recently. It's a skill that was a goal of mine for a pretty long time, so it's cool to be able to do it now."
Truth be told, there is very little for Loiselle to complain about in looking back at the 2022-2023 season to date. He needed only attend two of the three scheduled qualifiers in order to reach the necessary standard to make his way to nationals, sliding in an appearance at Elite Canada 2023 in Longueuil (PQ) in March - and picking up the win there as well.
And though he admits that the field in quite limited in Edmonton in his particular bracket, Loiselle sees the journey as being very much part of the end goal. "Just getting to junior itself is pretty hard to do," he said. "Lots of people are trying to get there - so I was pretty happy with myself."
Though the selection process is still a month or two away, Loiselle would dearly love to make a return to the World Agre Group T & T Championships, with the 2023 competition being hosted in Birmingham (England) in November.