Chilliwack’s Zachary Clay is returning to the national stage.
The 1999-born gymnast has been named to the Gymnastics Canada 2022 Men’s Artistic Gymnastics National Team, one of 12 elite-level athletes getting the nod.
Men’s artistic gymnastics consists of six routines: floor exercises, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and the horizontal bar. Clay, who trains at Abbotsford’s Twisters Gymnastics Club, is a four-time world championship team member (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018) whose favourite event is the pommel horse. He was first in the event at the 2017 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, the same year he was the Canadian all-around champion.
Clay has struggled with injuries in recent years, and didn’t qualify to represent Canada at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
He did compete in the 2021 Canadian championships which were held virtually.
In day-one competition he was first on the pommel horse, third on the parallel bars and ninth on the vault. In day-two competition he was second on the pommel horse and 12th on the parallel bars.
“2021 has been fraught with challenges and I think that the virtual competitions have shown us the spirit and commitment that the Canadian Gymnastics community possesses,” said national team coach Ed Van Hoof. “This spirit will serve us well as we prepare going forward into 2022 and the Paris Cycle. With everyone pulling together as a team, I believe Canada can make a significant impact. Olympic team qualification is possible!”
The next summer Olympics are due to take place in Paris, France in 2024.