Gymnast chases his dream
July 29, 2011
FRASER-The term “gymnastics” conjures up images of sparkly leotards, bouncing ponytails and Nadia Comaneci. Despite its male-dominated origins, the sport has often been typecast as feminine and girly – an unfortunate label that could not be further from the truth.
One 10 year-old Fraser boy is doing his part to break down those gender stereotypes. His weapons of choice? The pommel horse and parallel bars.
Sam Chasin is the only male member of the Alpine Aerials Gymnastics Team. He competes as a Level 4 gymnast under the tutelage of coach Hoppy Hayes.
At his last competition, Sam captured the hat trick of gymnastics awards – first place in the all-around division. This win, along with the six gold and silver medals he earned in the individual events, qualified Sam for the Aug. 5 State Meet.
Although Sam has been participating in gymnastics since he was 4 years old, this is the first year he has competed.
“Sam took the initiative and asked Hoppy if he could start attending meets,” explains dad Andy Chasin. “Since then, his skill development has just skyrocketed.”
Gymnastics demands a high level of fitness. The sport requires physical and emotional strength, and these attributes carry over into other areas of life.
“We’ve seen so much improvement in Sam’s other pursuits. His skiing has benefited so much, and the focus he exhibits now is just amazing,” his father says.
Unlike many beginner and intermediate gymnastic studios, the facility at the Grand Park Community Rec Center is equipped with a pommel horse, still rings and a full-sized set of parallel bars – everything an aspiring Bart Conner could ask for.
Sam will continue to hone his acrobatic skills in Level 5 next year, and he hopes to see some of his friends join him on the mat.
“We have the equipment and the gym to support a boys’ team,” says his father. “We just need the boys.”
Fourteen members of the Alpine Aerials Gymnastics Team girls team have also qualified for the State Meet on Aug. 29-30 at Overland High School.
Aerial girls who will compete are:
n Level 4 Compulsory: Lauren Romero, 7; Tori Chasin, 8; Annaliese Jensen, 9; Sage Michel, 9.
Level 5 Compulsory: Alison Skare, 9; Jordan Emery, 10; Morgan Shaw, 10.
Optional Level 1: Taylor Ehlert, 10; Cassidy Mays, 10; Sierra Smith, 11; Tori Lahrman, 12.
Optional Level 2: Katrina Quinn, 12; Megan Lovato; 15.
Optional Level 4: Ashley Matney, 12.
The Optional Level gymnasts will showcase their talent on Aug. 29. Compulsory Levels 4 and 5 will compete on Aug. 30.