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Boys Spring into Vaulting Competition

Friday, 14 February 2014

The six finalists in the annual Year 8 Vaulting Competition lined up in the gym today to compete for the trophy. With the rest of the Year 8 boys, their form teachers, P.E. staff, the Headmaster and Old Boy George Farnworth watching the competition, the pressure was on and nerves were running high.

After one last early-morning practice, the boys were ready to face the final four vaults that would decide the winner. The competition was in four rounds of increasing difficulty: through vault, long flight vault, rotational vault, and double box vault. The boys were able to decide the complexity and difficulty of the rotational and double box vaults they attempted – with a few even attempting somersaults on the second jump of the double box vault! It was a really impressive display of the boys’ abilities, and their bravery in attempting such challenging and potentially dangerous manoeuvres.

“After a very close and exhilarating final, in which all boys did tremendously well to hold their nerve in very difficult circumstances, Adam Salisbury became the 2014 Year 8 Gymnastics Winner,” said Mr Matt Johnson, the Head of P.E. “He performed consistently well throughout the four rounds, showing tremendous control and tension. Well done.” Spencer Shaw received the second place medal, and Dylan Heywood was placed third. Dominic Ally, Jamie Price and Joe Hughes also received certificates of commendation for their efforts.

Old Boy George Farnworth presented the prizes to the boys. He left the school in 1957, and recalled that many things have changed since that time: the East Wing was only completed two years before he left and work had not even begun on the North Wing. Even the gym has undergone changes: the wall bars and viewing gallery have gone, and the climbing wall is a major new addition – but it is still recognisable, as were the vaults the boys performed.

He said that there are many things which are important to gymnastics, but chief among them are “mobility, strength, speed, and lots and lots of practice so that everything becomes mechanical. It was a pleasure to watch the very adventurous vaults. Congratulations to the winner and runners up. I hope you will continue to enjoy gymnastics as part of the P.E. programme.” He also reminded the boys to take full advantage of their opportunities to take part in sports and P.E. both in school and after they leave, as part of a healthy lifestyle.

He ended the morning by telling the boys that during National Service he had the pleasure of meeting Nik Stuart, the British men's gymnastics champion 1956 to 1964. Years later, he watched Nik perform an incredible gymnastics display – despite being over fifty years old. Afterwards, the Head of P.E. at Loughborough College, who had organised the whole thing, gave a great piece of advice which George passed on: “Remember: what you can do today, you can do tomorrow – as long as you remember to do it today.”

George also returned to the school on Monday to watch the centenary Year 7 gymnastics competition and to award the Challenge Cup for Gymnastics to the winner.

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George Farnworth, Mr Matt Johnson and the Gymnastics Competition competitors

George Farnworth, Mr Matt Johnson and the Gymnastics Competition competitors

The boys acquitted themselves very well throughout the final

The boys acquitted themselves very well throughout the final

It was exhilarating to watch the increasingly difficult vaults

It was exhilarating to watch the increasingly difficult vaults