Their nicknames are ‘Salt’ and ‘Pepper.’
And like the condiments they’re named after, Simcoe’s Maddie Begin and Olivia James go well together. In a lot of cases, the pair are inseparable.
The two trampoline artists have been training together since they were youngsters. They are based out of the same gymnastics group and sometimes even wear the same clothing.
Next month, the two friends will be travelling together to New Brunswick to compete at the Eastern Canadian Gymnastic Championship where they certainly will be shining.
The outfits the two will be wearing sparkle in bright red, white and grey, with the provincial flower — trillium — visible.
The athletes — representing the Caledonia-based Grand River Gymmies — will be headed to the event, which takes place in New Brunswick — as members of the provincial gymnastics team.
The pair will be headed east with plenty of momentum on their side after medaling at the recent Trampoline and Tumbling Ontario Championship, which took place April 10-12 in Scarborough.
The 11-year-old Begin won bronze in the Level 4 14 & Under trampoline category while James, 14, walked away with a silver medal in the Level 1 15 & Over trampoline category.
“To make it to provincials was a good feeling,” said a humble James. “This (next month) will be the first time I’ve competed at a national level. I’m pretty nervous about it.”
“The provincials was the one to win,” said Begin. “It feels good to win at provincials. Easterns will be a lot of fun. I’m very excited.”
It won’t be Begin’s first time at Easterns. She previously competed at the event in 2012. While she knows what to expect at the event, Begin said she will still do her best.
“I think I’m just going to have to try my best because you never know how you’ll do,” she said. “It’s the best of the best that go.”
In Begin’s case, she’ll be competing up against athletes that are older than her, which can be intimidating.
“To make it there, I know there are going to be way more than seven competitors,” Begin said.
The road to the Easterns was full of qualifying meets throughout the year. While still young in their trampoline careers, Begin and James both said they’re proud to represent Ontario at the event.
The two girls got their start in the sport when they were members of the Simcoe Gliders. As the two progressed, both made the switch to Grand River Gymmies where they are coached by Dan Wardley.
“Olivia is coming off an ankle injury,” said Wardley. “She recovered well and has had a pretty successful year with the provincial win.
“With Maddie, she’ll probably be one of the youngest going to Easterns. She will be going up against some pretty stiff competition. Maddie will take it all with a smile. She has a super positive attitude and a level head.”
“I have to make sure that I keep practicing to make sure my routines are right,” James added. “I hope to win a medal there.”
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