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Corner Brook’s Joshua Skinner loves the freedom that comes with being on a trampoline

Saltos trampoline gymnast Joshua Skinner, a 15-year-old Corner Brook native, will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
Saltos trampoline gymnast Joshua Skinner, a 15-year-old Corner Brook native, will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta. - Chris Quigley

Shawn Holloway is a former trampoline gymnast who competed for the national team for 10 years.

He came to Corner Brook to work as a full-time coach with Saltos Gymnastics with hopes of developing a trampoline program in Newfoundland and Labrador because it was the only province that didn’t offer it.

The 41-year-old native of Revelstoke, a town in the interior of British Columbia, decided to travel coast to coast for a coaching gig because there was a lot of competition in the Vancouver area.

He believes he discovered a real gem at Saltos who has potential to be one of the best in the sport.

That gem is Corner Brook’s Joshua Skinner, 15.

Skinner is heading to the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer with Holloway. It’s a momentous occasion for both, given the fact it will be the first time Newfoundland and Labrador has had a competitor in trampoline at the Games.

Being on a trampoline every chance he gets is what makes Skinner happy. He plays video games and breaks out the guitar from time to time to relax, but being at the gym working on becoming the best is where he spends most of his free time.

He got involved with gymnastics at the age of three and had a couple of years where he was involved in the competitive side before he quit. He was away from the gym for a year before deciding to get back at it, and trampoline is what he wanted to focus his energy on.

He loves everything the sport has to offer.

“I feel awesome. There’s no other feeling like it when you’re in the air. It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

He’s only been involved with trampoline for three years and knows the sport has a ways to go to gain popularity like some other ones, and there are things that frustrate him about the way the sport is perceived.

He said the sport is much bigger than young boys and girls jumping on a trampoline in their backyard.

He said most people don’t realize how much effort it takes to master the skills, and wondered how many people knew that trampoline is actually an Olympic sport.

He loves being in the gym so much that he became a coach with Saltos. It’s like a second home to him and the sport has given him a lot, but he quickly acknowledges he owes a lot to Holloway for helping him earn a trip to the Canada Games.

“I would never be where I am without him. If he wasn’t here I would have stayed where I was,” he said. “Being able to work with somebody who has done so much with the sport has been great.”

It’s been a pleasure for Holloway to have Skinner under his tutelage.

Holloway said he’s never seen anybody develop so fast in the 21 years he’s been involved with coaching young trampoline gymnasts. He said when he first started working with Skinner the young athlete didn’t know how to handle his nerves and couldn’t find any consistency at competitions, but in the past six months he’s seen his skillset skyrocket from a Level 2 athlete who could only do single somersaults to a guy who has no problem completing a routine with three or four of them.

Holloway said he appreciates having an athlete who comes to the gym every day with a positive attitude and a desire to learn more and more.

“The sky is the limit for that guy. He’s unbelievable,” Holloway said. “He surprises me every day at the gym. I look forward to going to work with him because I know I’m going to be blown away that day.”

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