Article by: Doug Gallant
Taking home a gold medal from the Canada Winter Games is the ultimate goal for Canada’s next generation of athletes. For many, it will be a goal out of reach, but for 18-year-old Gleb Evstigneev, the dream of taking a gold medal back home to Newfoundland and Labrador became reality Wednesday evening when he performed two flawless routines in the individual male trampoline competition.
Evstigneev, who comes from Paradise, scored a 55.03 in his first routine, and a 56.02 in his second for a combined score of 111.05. He won by a wide margin, with competitors from Quebec and British Columbia finishing second and third respectively.
Evstigneev noted the routine he did wasn’t the one he originally planned to do. “I had to change a few skills, had to downgrade it a little bit. But when I finished it, I knew it was clean, I knew I was jumping high, and I still felt good about it. I would have been happy to walk away with any other medal or even just knowing that I had done the best I could.”
Evstigneev, who moved to Newfoundland and Labrador from Germany in 2010, was happy to win the first gold medal in Gymnastics for his home province. "It's a huge rush, a roller-coaster of emotions," he said in a statement issued by Team N.L. "I wasn't sure how I'd do when I stepped on the trampoline. I was nervous, my legs were shaking. I got on, I did my best, and it was good enough apparently. I'm just really happy to be here. It feels surreal.”
He observed that during the last Canada Games people didn’t even realize Newfoundland and Labrador had a trampoline team. “Just knowing that and performing the way I did it was a great feeling. I was really proud to represent my province. Everybody from Newfoundland was in the stands. I saw people from wheelchair basketball, curling, hockey, squash, and all the other sports. They were all cheering for me so I’m really happy I didn’t let them down. The whole experience was great.” His mother Marta was also there to cheer him on.
Evstigneev noted he had a rough go the last couple of competitions but this time he reminded himself that this was for fun and that he was not going to lose his job if things didn’t go well for him.
This is the second Canada Games for Evstigneev who is a senior member of the Gymnastics Newfoundland Canada Winter Games team. At the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer he placed 5th overall in a field of 18 competitors.
A pivotal member of Campia Gymnastics and the trampoline community in Newfoundland and Labrador he was selected as part of the trampoline teams that represented Canada at the World Age Group Competition in Sofia, Bulgaria this past November.
His selection for that team was the result of a first place finish at the 2022 Elite Canada competition. As a result of his sheer determination and hard work he has been named to the Gym Can Developmental Team for 2023-2024. Even before his medal win Wednesday evening, this had been a good week for Evstigneev. He was chosen to be the Flagbearer for the province in the Canada Games Opening Ceremony.
The next stop for him is an Elite Canada competition in March. He follows that up with the Junior Pan American Games in Mexico in May, followed in turn by the Canadian National Championships.