Gritty comeback leads to gold for Morison

Just five months ago, Marquita Morison feared her gymnastics career was history. That she can now call herself a Western Canadian champion is a tribute to the 13-year-old's deep reservoir of grit and determination.

Just five months after breaking her leg

Just five months after breaking her leg

Just five months ago, Marquita Morison feared her gymnastics career was history.

That she can now call herself a Western Canadian champion is a tribute to the 13-year-old’s deep reservoir of grit and determination.

On Nov. 30, during a training session at Abbotsford’s Twisters Gymnastics Club, Morison came up short on her dismount off the bars and snapped the tibia and fibula (the bones that run between the knee and ankle joints) in her right leg.

In that moment, Morison’s gymnastics career flashed before her eyes.

“It was really scary, because I knew it was really bad,” she said. “I thought I might not be able to do gymnastics again.”

Initial feedback from doctors indicated Morison might require surgery to insert plates and screws to stabilize the bones. Ultimately, doctors at B.C. Children’s Hospital were able to set the bones without surgery.

During her convalescence, the youngster worked extremely hard to put herself in a position to return to competition.

“When I was at home, I had weights, so I’d lay down and do stuff with my arms and upper body,” she said.

Morison didn’t resume full training until early March, less than three weeks before the Western Canadian trials. Complicating matters was the fact she was performing several new skills for the first time in competition.

But Morison not only qualified for the Westerns, held last weekend in Grande Prairie, Alta., she dominated. Competing in the P5 novice category, she won the all-around title, as well as gold medals on the floor and bars, silver on the vault and bronze on the beam.

“My goal for this year was to go to Westerns and win, but I never thought I could do it after the injury,” the Grade 8 homeschooled student said with a smile. “So it was amazing to do it.”

Other Twisters medallists at Westerns included Steven Chaplin (national youth, silver on parallel bars) and Shayla Ogloff (P5 tyro, bronze on bars). Ashlynn Skulstad (national novice) finished third on the floor during first-day qualifying.