This week, the annual Christy Fraser Memorial Invitational gymnastics competition held at the Langley Events Centre will mark a milestone 30th anniversary.
Lory Fraser, Christy’s mom “can’t believe it’s 30 years” since the annual event was launched in memory of her daughter, a dedicated gymnast who passed away in August of 1992 at the age of 12, after contracting E. Coli.
With this year’s event expanded from three to four days to accommodate another huge turnout, Fraser, with the help of Christy’s friend Julie Gilfillan, will have even more ground to cover when she goes looking for competitors who embody her daughter’s can-do spirit.
“It’s always been a lot of work, but rewarding as well,” Lory told the Langley Advance Times.
While it is an emotional time for Lory, it is also “a very good feeling,” she explained.
“It’s all about the kid, the smiles on their faces.”
Lory and Julie will be seeking gymnasts who embody the same traits as Christy; supportive, determined and displaying a positive attitude.
Those awards will be in addition to the medals won at the four-day event.
Last year, Lory recalled being moved by some of the winners, who had conquered medical issues to compete.
“I was in tears,” she recalled.
This year, every competitor will get a commemorative hoodie with the event logo on the back.
Registrations for 2023 show the invitational will match, and could possibly beat, last year’s record-shattering attendance for the first in-person invitation to be held after COVID restrictions were lifted.
“Post-pandemic, we had the biggest one ever at 1,000,” Lory remarked, “and this year, it’s the same.”
Fitting everyone in last year made for some “really long days,” Lory explained, so the event has been spread over four days this time.
For the very first time, one of the teams is coming all the way from Ontario, a measure of how the reputation of the event has spread, Lory noted.
From Thursday, Feb. 2, to Sunday, Feb. 5 the 30th annual Christy Fraser Memorial Gymnastics Invitational in Langley will be held at the Langley Events Centre field house.
When the invitational began, it was first held in the Langley Secondary gymnasium and featured 170 athletes.
Over the years, it has grown to include dozens of clubs from across B.C. and Alberta — and now Ontario — with athletes ranging in age from five to 17 and competing in recreational, provincial and elite levels.
LGF has expanded over the same time, to become the largest club in BC. The club is starting a community outreach fund — with $1 from each spectator admission going towards providing free gymnastics programs to kids with fewer opportunities to participate in after-school sports.
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