John Carroll makes a living in gymnastics.
But when the competitive program director at the Surrey Gymnastics Society received a Sport BC Athlete of the Year award earlier this month in Richmond, it was a surprise to some it was in the category of Official of the Year.
A Level 4 coach in the National Coaching Certification Program, Carroll is also a gymnastics judge, earning the Sport BC honour for his work at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Pacific Rim Championships.
“Coaching is my full-time job, judging is my volunteer job,” explained Carroll. “It’s the other side of the sport. You get to enjoy it from a different perspective.”
Carroll received the award at the 2015 Athlete of the Year gala in Richmond March 13, and was selected over two other finalists – Howard Hum (volleyball) and Steve Seibel (basketball).
“It was pretty exciting,” he said of the award. “I was up against some guys with a lot of experience.”
A 32-year veteran of judging, Carroll has been a FIG (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique) judge since 1993 and has worked several major events, the first of which was the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland was his third assignment to that event, having also worked the 2010 games in New Delhi, India.
He has also judged at the Elite Canada, Western Canada and national championship competitions since 1989, as well as several Canada Winter Games events. He began by judging provincial championships and BC Winter Games events.
Two years ago, he added another major event to his resume.
“My first ever worlds was in 2013 in Belgium,” he said. “It was kind of exciting to be out on the floor, and judging the best guys in the world.”
After three decades, he still has one event to strive for.
“I have an aspiration to do the Olympics, it’s the only one I don’t have,” he said. “They’ve picked the judges for 2016, so it won’t happen then. But I’m hopeful for 2020 in Tokyo.”
SGS pair qualifies for Westerns
Carroll will be coaching two members of the Surrey Gymnastics Society at the Western Canadian Championships in Okotoks, Alberta next month.
Treyson Cerrato and Emanuel Gutierrez Sandoval qualified for the Westerns at the Twisters Gymnastics Invitational Competition last weekend, an event which doubled as a Team BC trial event.
Gutierrez Sandoval, 11, earned an all around silver medal in the Elite 3 category. He placed second on the pommel horse, rings and vault, and was third on floor, parallel bars and high bar.
Cerrato, 13, also won a silver medal in all around competition. He won gold medals on rings, parallel bars and high bar, and was third on pommel horse and fifth on floor.
Carroll was named as one of the Team BC coaches.
Three other SGS gymnasts fared well at the Twisters event. Brady Reeleder, 11, won the all around gold medal in the Provincial 2 (10-and-under) category, after winning gold on vault, silver on floor, pommel horse and parallel bars and placing fourth on high bar.
Competing in the same category, Reggie Quintana, 10, won gold on floor and placed fifth all around.
Timofey Azhogin was third on rings and vault, and fourth on floor and pommel horse in the Provincial 3 (under-13) group.
In girls competition, top-five scores were earned by Alanna Jones, 21, in Provincial 5 Open (fifth on vault), Emily Carroll, 17, in Junior Olympic Level 8 (fifth on beam), Maria Bashko, 11, in Junior Olympic Level 7 (third on beam), and Alexa Cannon, 12, also in Junior Olympic Level 7 (fifth on bars).