MISSISSAUGA – Elizabeth Musgrave couldn’t believe it. Neither could her coach, parents or anyone else in an Oshawa gym last month.
The Gymnastics Mississauga member had just finished what she thought was an excellent beam routine at an Ontario Cup qualifier, but when her score came up as a perfect 10, she started scrambling to determine whether or not it was true.
“Once I saw it, I kept asking what’s my start value and remembered it can only be 10,” said the 12-year-old from Newmarket.
“I thought it was a mistake and so did (my coach Tammie Gray), but one of the judges walked by with a complete straight face and said ‘This was not a mistake.’ When I saw it, I almost started crying and then Tammie went around saying ‘That’s my athlete.'”
Nadia Comaneci is famous for becoming the first woman to record a perfect 10 at the Olympic level during the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. Since then several other gymnasts have recorded a perfect score at the Olympics, including Elena Davydova, who now owns Gemini Gymnastics, the site of Musgrave’s achievement.
At the grass roots level, the perfect 10 is very rare. How rare you may ask? Gray can’t recall one being recorded in Ontario over the last 30 years.
“It happens in the States rarely, but in Ontario, it doesn’t,” she said.
Musgrave ended up finishing fifth in the level 7 all-around standings at the meet. She feels the key to succeeding as a gymnast is having a positive mindset.
Before she competes, she visualizes how each routine will go.
“If I wobble (in my visualization), I have to redo it,” said Musgrave, who said she had to restart the process in Oshawa. “I have to think positive before I go.”
To warm up, Musgrave listens to “Upbeat” music from pop artists such as Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor and Bruno Mars as her parents make the drive to each competition.
She was last year’s provincial champion in her age group and placed second the year before in her first season as a competitive gymnast. She’s also a goalie who plays house league and select in Aurora.
Gray said her pupil is a hard working student who deserves her moment in the spotlight.
“She takes corrections very well, not that I have to give them often because she’s so consistent and focused,” she said. “She’s easy to coach.”
Musgrave can’t do any better than a perfect 10, but she still hopes to grow and improve in what she hopes is a long career in gymnastics.
She feels that the hour-long drive from Newmarket to Mississauga her parents make to allow her to train shows her determination.
By Iain Colpitts