Prince Albert’s Brent Ertman never thought he’d ever do what he did last weekend, travel across the world to compete in his beloved sport of gymnastics.
Ertman hopped across the pond to compete at the 12th Loulé World Cup of gymnastics in Loulé, Portugal Oct. 6-7.
Ertman attended international events before, like numerous Canada Cup appearances, but has never travelled abroad to participate in one. Just to get to an event like this has been building up ever since Ertman took on the sport roughly a decade ago.
“Honestly, pretty much my whole entire gymnastics career has lead up to doing something like this. I never thought that I’d actually get this far when I started gymnastics,” Ertman told paNOW after returning to Prince Albert earlier in the week. “I thought maybe I’ll aim for nationals… if I make the national team, maybe that would be the end for me and I’ll retire and be satisfied with that. I just kept going and going because every competition, I wanted more. It was more exciting, they keep getting better—more exciting and scarier at times, but they’re more fun.”
Ertman qualified for the finals in both events he competed in. In tumbling, Ertman finished in fourth place with a score of 58.9. In the double-trampoline, Ertman finished in sixth with 62.8 and finished ahead of two of Canadians in the event.
For Ertman, it was a long time coming to compete at his debut international tournament on international soil. But instead of resting on his laurels and calling it, the World Cup has only made Ertman hungrier for possible events in the future.
“It just makes me want to keep going even more—I just don’t want to stop. Every single competition I go to, it just makes me want to do something bigger and better and keep improving,” Ertman said. “It was a really great experience and it kind of gave me a lot of motivation. Now that I’m back here in the gym, I’m just getting over my jet lag but then I’m going to get back straight to work here because I’m so excited."
Ertman said the atmosphere was a lot more intense at the World Cup than competing domestically in Canada. But one thing he said take the edge off was the fact he had the rare opportunity to go site seeing around the hosting city.
Loulé is a city of over 70,000 on the southern coast of Portugal, a 2.5 hour drive southwest of the country’s capital of Lisbon. After the competition was done, Ertman said he and his team were able to spend a day to celebrate by exploring the city’s market, going out on a boat and do a little relaxing on the beach.
“There was definitely a lot more pressure, but being outside of the country and being able do really exciting, fun things outside of the gym as well made me feel kind of relaxed about what was happening inside the gym,” Ertman said. “Making friends with other athletes from other countries made me feel way more comfortable. We’re all here for one reason, and that’s not to win but to have fun and compete and make your highest score you can possibly get. But no matter what place you come out in, it was just a great experience to travel to something like this and compete with people from all across the world… It was definitely awesome, I want to go back.”
On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW
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