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Canadian Trampoline athletes receive competitive edge thanks to Mark Lowry Memorial Sport Excellence Fund

The Mark Lowry Memorial Sport Excellence Fund was established by his family as a tribute to Mark Lowry, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Executive Director of Sport, who passed away on October 22, 2005. Their goal is to continue Mark’s dedication to the Canadian Olympic movement by providing donations towards the development of key high-performance initiatives.

The devices, which measure how far a gymnast travels away from the centre point of the trampoline on each of their ten skills (which results in score deductions), are cutting-edge technology which only three other countries in the world (Russia, China, and Canada), currently have at their disposal. Having an instant, visual representation of their skills will enable the athletes and coaches to make the required tweaks to their routines that will result in the maximum scores possible at competitions.

Last week, Gymnastics Canada was honoured to invite members of Mark Lowry’s family, including his wife Jennifer, partner Roland, son Brendan, and sister Jean, to Skyriders Trampoline Place in Toronto to see the device in action, and to meet Rio-bound Olympians Rosie MacLennan and Jason Burnett, both of Toronto.

Stephan Duchesne, the High Performance Director for Gymnastics Canada explains how the devices work and then Rosie shows us how it reacts to her routine.

While not currently employed by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) at competitions, the devices (which are installed under the four legs of the trampoline) are being tested at several World Cups this season with the expectation of their being in constant use for the 2017 season.

Legendary coach Dave Ross, owner of Skyriders, explains how the devices will help him as a coach to get the best from his athletes:

MacLennan, the defending Olympic champion, and Burnett, himself a World Record holder and Olympic silver medallist, understand the impact of having this sort of technology at their disposal:

Funding for the devices, and the other projects that the Mark Lowry Memorial Sport Excellence Fund have been able to support over the years, were all made possible thanks to funds raised from the Drive for the Podium Golf Tournament which ran for 10 years in Ottawa. Funding decisions are made by the Lowry family based on recommendations from high performance sport technical experts from the Canadian Sport Review Panel and the Own the Podium program.

For the Lowry family, the ability to have a direct impact on Canada’s athletes, and to be able to see the funding in action is incredibly rewarding:

“We’re incredibly thankful to the Lowry family for this funding,” stated Peter Nicol, President/CEO of Gymnastics Canada at the event. “Every little advantage that we can gain over our competitors makes a huge difference in our ability to create champions that will help to inspire the nation to get active and to become involved in the foundation sport of gymnastics. We’re really excited to see what impact this technology will have on the sport of trampoline moving forward.”

Two of the devices will be permanently installed – one at Skyriders, and the other at the Institut national du sport (INS) in Montreal. The third will be brought to competitions for more testing, including the upcoming 2016 Global News Canadian Championships in Artistic and Trampoline Gymnastics in Edmonton at the beginning of June. Canada’s top trampoline athletes will be competing there for the title of Canadian Champion, and both MacLennan and Burnett will be debuting their Olympic routines – with the help they have already gleaned from this leading-edge technology.

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