Kevin Lytwyn is gearing up to represent Canada in the air and on the mat at his first global multi-sport event.
The 23-year-old Stoney Creek native will compete for the national gymnastics team at the XX Commonwealth Games this month in Glasgow, Scotland.
“I am really excited and honoured to be representing Canada,” he said. “This will be my first international games event, so it will be cool to be with all the other sports. I’m just really pumped about the whole thing.”
Lytwyn, who trains at the University of Calgary Gymnastics Centre under head coach Jason Woodnick, will join 12 male and female gymnasts from across Canada as they strive for supremacy at the Games.
Canada’s team includes 265 athletes and close to 100 coaches and support staff – the nation’s largest team ever fielded for a non-home Games.
Lytwyn plans to compete on the horizontal bar, parallel bars, rings, floor and vault.
“I did sustain a bit of a knee injury at nationals,” he said. “I am taking it easy on floor and vault in training. But I’m confident that all should be OK by the time we are over in Glasgow.”
Lytwyn was named to Canada’s gymnastics team about three weeks ago.
He said members were chosen based on their results at various events this year, including the Canadian Gymnastics Championships, and on who can contribute to help the team score.
“I posted really good scores in competition this year, as well as during day one of the nationals,” Lytwyn said. “I also have five pretty strong events. That is why I was selected for the team.”
Lytwyn accompanied other Canadian gymnasts for a competition this year in Stanford, where they battled a few NCAA teams, along with Japan and Finland.
He landed the highest floor score of the entire meet.
Lytwyn also joined Canada for the Pacific Rim Championships this year in Richmond, B.C., where the team finished third and beat China.
He said one his most memorable highlights, though, came at the national championships in May in Ottawa.
Lytwyn scored a 14.8 on the horizontal bar, 14.6 on the parallel bars and 15.15 on the floor during day one of the event. He qualified first in all three for the finals.
“I felt really good about qualifying first in three events; I put a lot of hard work into training up until nationals and it paid off,” Lytwyn said. “Day two at nationals was not so good because I injured my knee in warm up on the horizontal bar. All in all, this year had a lot of good competitions and good results for me.”
Lytwyn said he feels all of the events he’s competed in this year have helped prepare him for the upcoming Games.
He has learned what works and what doesn’t work for him in competition.
“I have learned how to react in various situations whether good or bad,” Lytwyn said. “I am still learning, but having some good competitions under my belt this year has definitely given me some good information. Hopefully, I can use this to represent Canada with pride in Glasgow.”
Lytwyn and Canada’s gymnastics team will be competing against a number of other teams at the Games. The Games, which take place July 23 to Aug. 3, will be the largest ever multi-sport event held on Scottish soil.
Lytwyn, who joined Canada for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 world championships, said the competition will be fierce.
“I think our biggest competition will be England, Scotland and Australia,” he said. “For me, the biggest thing to be successful at the Games will be to get healthy and stay healthy for the duration of the event. If my knee injury continues to get better, I feel as though I will be able to compete well and post some good results.”
Asked what his ultimate goal was for the Games, Lytwyn said, “I hope to be able to help our team to a top-three finish and personally qualify for a few apparatus finals.”