Battle of the sisters: big rivalry heats up at international gymnastics competition in Calgary

WATCH: Whether it’s the Stanley Cup Finals or the Olympics, having long-standing rivals square off in sport always stirs things up a bit. At a competition kicking off in Calgary this week, there’s another ingredient added to the mix: sibling rivalry. Gil Tucker has the story.

Some young Calgary gymnasts are excited to be hosting a big international competition this week, and they’re particularly interested to see how a sporting sibling rivalry plays out on home turf.

“It’s always been us going to England, us going to Belgium, us going to China,” gymnast Rochelle Greenberg said. “Whereas now, it’s them coming to us.”

Members of the Calgary Acro club are hosting acrobatic gymnastics teams from countries like Mexico, the U.S. and Japan at an event called Acro Palooza.

“We’ve got the heart on our side,” gymnast Avery Colbert said. “And we’ve got the willpower.”


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No one wants to win more than Jennie Miller, a coach with Calgary Acro.

“This is the first time that Great Britain have come to Canada to compete,” Miller said. “So we have to show them who’s best.”

And there’s one British coach Miller really wants to beat — her sister Beth.

“We used to be really competitive when we were younger,” Miller said. “She was four years younger, so she was always wanting to be as good as I was .”

Four years after Jennie moved to Canada, the rivalry with Beth is still strong.

“She’s bringing her best team, so we’ve got to be ready,” Miller said. “We need to be good.”


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Calgary Acro’s Norm Lewis is very familiar with the sibling rivalry; as well as being Miller’s fellow coach, he’s also her fiancé.

“We can’t let Jennie down,” Lewis told the gymnasts with a smile. “We’ve got to do our best — send Beth home in tears!”

Miller is optimistic her athletes will do her proud.

“We have a good advantage, the fact that we have a home crowd,” Miller said. “So we have Canada on our side.”

The gymnasts also feel that will help give them an edge.

“It’s going to be a tight battle,” Colbert said. “But I feel like Jennie’s going to come out on top.”

The Acro Palooza competition goes Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26 at the Genesis Centre in northeast Calgary.

No matter who prevails when the Canadians and the British hit the mats together, the two coaches are still sisters.

“We’re rivals, but we support each other a lot as well,” Jennie said.

And she’s looking forward to sitting down with her sister after the competition to share a Canadian classic: “She likes the poutine.”

 

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