Darby McIntyre and Keerstin Arden, the athletes from the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club who represented Vancouver Island in the BC Winter Games in Mission went there with every intention of winning some hardware, but not as much as they came home with.
Dynamics coach Anna Mataganova, who was part of the Zone 6 coaching staff, expected to win something.
"I was positive," she recalled. "We went to win medals. We always do."
McIntyre went into the Games with confidence as well, but was still surprised at the haul.
"I was expecting one, but not four or five," the 14-year-old gymnast said. "It was pretty unexpected and exciting."
In the individual competition, McIntyre finished first all-around out of 29 athletes, with gold medals on beam and bars and silver on vault. Arden took silver on beam, and placed 10th all-around.
A day earlier, both athletes helped the Vancouver Island-Central Coast team to a bronze medal in the team competition, helping their zone beat out teams that included gymnasts from huge Vancouver-area clubs.
At one point McIntyre and Arden thought they would tie for first on beam, as their posted scores were identical. Arden was still pleased to finish in the top two with her teammate.
"I was really happy with my beam performance," Arden said. "I stuck my beam that day, and in previous competitions I hadn’t been."
From a coach’s perspective, Mataganova was impressed with the events in Mission.
"It was a really nice experience," she said. "They were very wellorganized games."
McIntyre enjoyed her first trip to a massive multisport event.
"It was really fun," she said. "It was cool to have different sports. It was fun to meet people in other sports besides gymnastics."
Joining the athletes and Anna Mataganova at the Games was Dynamics head coach Olga Mataganova, who served as a judge. The contingent is emblematic of the Island-wide impact of the Duncan club.
McIntyre comes over from Saltspring Island five days a week, getting up at 6:30 a.m. to catch the ferry and arriving home at 9 p.m. but it’s worth it, she says. Arden makes trip from Victoria to train with the Dynamics. She clicked with the club as soon as she made her first visit.
Like McIntyre, Arden went to the Games with the goal of returning with some hardware, and accomplished it.
"I was hoping to come back with a medal," she said. "I was really happy I did."