Jared Goad of Bible Hill, NS is the first medal recipient of the Canada games and it was a golden moment.
“I never thought I would make the Canada games, let alone win a gold medal,” said Goad, ‘“I’m very excited right now, ecstatic, I can’t believe I finally have my medal!”
Goad came first in the men’s artistic gymnastics floor exercise with a score of 13.6. Kal Nemier of BC came second and Mathieu Csukassy of Quebec came third. Goad’s high 9.7 execution score combined with a 3.8 difficulty level gave him the edge over the other two.
Coach David Kikuchi said that before the event Goad was nervous. “Jared looked very jittery and out of it,” he said. The coaches worked on calming him down and focusing on what he needed to do.
“After the warms up he was able to calm him self down and focus”, said Kikuchi, “On what he had to do, to do his best performance instead of worrying about everything else that was out there and all the other athletes.”
Kikuchi said that his routine performance was an accomplishment. “When it all counted that was his best performance he’s ever done,” said Kikuchi, “Do to that is just incredible.”
Goad didn’t know he had won until the head judge gave him the official results, ““I never knew I was winning because I didn’t watch any other routine except my team mates even because I wanted to cheer him on of course, and I didn’t look at any other scores,” said Goad, “Then the head judge came over and gave me the official results and he was like congratulations and then I just burst into tears of joy, I was so happy.”
Goad is very proud to have the first medal for Nova Scotia, “I’m so excited and it’s the first medal for Nova Scotia this week and a gold one.”
It is hard to imagine that this is Goads third competition. Originally starting in trampoline during grade seven, Goad switched to gymnastics in grade 10, “I think it was to have more of a challenge,” he said.
“The guys that medaled, these are the best guys in the country” said Kikuchi, “These are the guys they’ve looking up to and now they are having to compete with them.”
Goad competed and beat these high level athletes. “To be able to beat them all and do so well is an incredible feeling,” said Goad.
Goad attributes his win to good planning, “I planned out my floor routine more specifically than before,” he said, “I had to focus and really concentrate on what I was going to do.”
As a team, Nova Scotia men’s team placed 4th in the team event. “We have a really tight knit team, we train together a lot, we all know each other really well, we’re pretty much like a family,” said Goad, “Coming together we would all cheer each other on, we would help each other focus and get in the mindset, and we pulled through.”
Teammate Stephen Coutler won bronze at the Parallel Bar event that night, Nova Scotia’s second medal. “Winning a medal on home turf was amazing,” he said, “It felt very good to have the second medal, feel all the fans behind me.”
Coulter said that Goads win helped his performance. “It made me feel less nervous,” said Coutler.
Fellow Nova Scotian gymnast Evan Cruz came 5th at the overall individual competition. “I tried my hardest,” said Cruz, “I’m very proud of myself.”
Cruz is also very proud of his teammate Goad, “Jared did an excellent floor, it was the best he’s ever done he chose to the do best he’s ever done at the right time,” he said, “When Jared won it’s the most cheering I’ve ever head for anything except for very major sports things but for gymnastics that doesn’t really happen, and that was really good to hear.”
The audience at the Canada Games Centre loved Goad, “Little kids have already been asking for my autograph,” said Goad with a smile.
After the medal ceremony Goad proudly wore his medal. “Now its real, I have it I can touch it, its mine, I won! Its so incredible,” he said.
Gymnastic parent Sherry Watters thinks Goad is someone for her son, Alex, to look up to, “He’s totally a role model for mine,” she said, “He’s a very genuine, very nice guy, it really couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.”
Goad, a grade 12 student, is currently applying to universities. He’s looking at science programs but having a gym near by is a big draw, “It influences where I’m going to go for sure,“ he says, “it’s a big part of my life.”
Overall Kikuchi said that the team did great. “Everything was better than we than we could have hoped for and better than we planned for,” he said, “I knew coming in that our team was ready and I knew that they were capable of doing very well but able to actually do and it and pull it off and exceed expectations is fantastic and I’m really happy with how everything turned out.”
For Nova Scotia gymnastics this means a lot. “It gives these athletes and the other athletes around the province that we can do this, we can compete with the best athletes,” says Kikuchi, “Hopefully this will help our confidence and to help us realize that it is possible to do these kind of things.”