Publication date : 28/07/2017
The day in Vestfold may have started gently with a yoga session and stand-up paddle courses for some of the over 2,000 World Gym for Life Challenge participants, but it soon gained momentum when the contest continued with two more categories on Thursday.
On the programme were displays from groups that incorporate large apparatus in their performances. Twelve small and eleven large groups representing a total of eight countries – Norway, Germany, Australia, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and Greece – lined up during the day waiting for their turn to present their well-prepared routines to the international audience. Feedbackers and evaluators followed each performance attentively and while the first group of experts provided optional feedback to the groups, the rating of the second group determined the colour of medal each group was awarded in the end. Eager to perform again at the gala on Saturday, all the gymnasts gave their best to earn this prestigious invitation in form of a gold medal and the audience appreciated the high quality of the presentations.
Germany makes a splash in small groups
With five of the 12 groups involved hailing from Germany, their delegation was predominant in the category of small groups. However, it was not sheer weight of numbers – and nor the cheering from their compatriots – that gained the German groups the most points, but the originality, variety and clever combination of different elements in their entertaining performances. In the end, both of the Gold medals that were awarded in this category, namely to the Showturngruppe and the Showteam Blues Brothers, as well as three more silver medals went to Germany, the country with the largest delegation in Vestfold.
Jump start for first-timers
Australia, newcomers to the World Gym for Life Challenge, entered two small groups, who did not only earn the applause and appreciation of the audience, but also delivered a convincing case to the evaluators. The Woden Valley – Groove and Move group is made up of people aged between 50 and 74 who had not done any Gymnastics until two or three years ago and are driven by inspiration and support for each other. By contrast, the Gymnastics NSW Performance Team includes members with international experience and together they perform six different gym sports. Both teams take home silver medals from Vestfold.
Greetings from Switzerland
Hailing from the country’s three main linguistic regions, five large Swiss groups appeared in the contest and all left great impressions. The different groups drew a vivid image of their country with stories of Heidi and the mountains, by interweaving a kaleidoscope of elements and the contrast of peace, calm and elegance with strength, energy and passion. The presentation of opposites culminated in the Romeo and Juliet 2.0 show from the Welsh Master Team, though it was Swissrings, a group from St Gallen, who provided the clear highlight. They wowed the crowd and won gold medals with “Circus memories of Aerial Acrobatics”, a spectacular show involving an octagonal rings installation, circus costumes and lively music.
Danish delight and Austrian Avatar
Three teams of young performers from Denmark delighted the audience with highly energetic choreographies featuring plenty of tumbling, dance and acrobatic gymnastics while the Austrian group TS Maeder Novus fascinated spectators with their daring acrobatic performance in Avatar costumes.
Standing ovations for Greece
With 62 participants one of the biggest groups, and one of only two teams from Greece, at this event is Olympiada Thrakomakedonon and they stole the show at the Oslofjord Convention Center on Thursday. Their programme “The Wolves and the Moon”, a theatrical choreography with rhythmic and artistic gymnastics elements, showcased dramatic music, costumes and stage sets and left spectators with goosebumps as it earned them standing ovations as well as undisputed gold medals.
The World Gym for Life Challenge continues on Friday with the last part of the contest featuring 47 small Gymnastics and dance groups and with six more gala invitations up for grabs. The event will be live streamed via https://www.facebook.com/pg/gymforlife2017 .
Useful background information, photos and explanatory videos on the discipline Gymnastics for All and the World Gym for Life Challenge can also be found on the newly updated FIGymnastics app. Download it from the iTunes store or the Google Play store.