It’s the second time at a Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown for Team BC’s Richard Ikeda (Mission). As a 15-year-old gymnast, he competed at the 1991 Games and was a multiple medallist. He went on to represent Canada at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games adding more medals.
Now, he is back in PEI as the BC gymnastics team manager and coach for his son Ethan. Richard has some “bits and pieces of” memories of Charlottetown more than 30 years ago. “There was a blizzard. It was exciting for sure,” says Richard. But, walking into the Opening Ceremony on February 18 with Ethan was a new thrill. “It’s great to be with my son here at his first games.”
For 18-year-old Ethan, there are times when Richard is “just dad.” But on the field of play, it’s all business as they assume in their athlete and coach roles.
“He a coach at our gym and he’s a coach here. Things haven’t changed too much," says Ethan.
Sitting on a mat with his dad after a training session for his first interview, Ethan explained how he started in the sport at around age five. At that time, he says he did not know anything about his father’s long competitive history in gymnastics.
It was a great start on the first day of the 2023 competition for Ethan earning a silver in the team event.
“We worked hard – our goal was to come top three and we came second," says Ethan. "I am proud to represent Team BC.”
“The Canada Games are so unique as a multisport event for this age range,” adds Richard. “It’s a special event.” Curiously, at the 1991 Canada Winter Games, Richard’s dad Mits Ikeda was also his coach. So, history is repeating itself in Charlottetown for Team BC.
“I think we are doing well and we are on the right track,” says Richard, as he describes the current state of men’s gymnastics in Canada. “The plan is in place.” And Ethan wants to be part of that plan. His dream is to represent Canada at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Summer Games.
- Filed by Sam Corea (@sammy_sez), Team BC Communications Staff | Photos by Armando Tura/APShutter.com
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