The nine-year-old Cobequid Spartans gymnast had just completed a breathtaking, textbook vault and now her coaches were growing more and more intrigued as time ticked by.
Kim Bernard, a coach with the competitive program, realized something was going on when she saw one of the judges get up and walk away from the table.
“We need the video,” the judge said.
“Oh? Why?” Bernard responded.
“You’ll find out later.”
The aforementioned video is one circulated to judges and competitors in Canada and the United States showing what constitutes a 10 – a perfect score. According to Bernard, the judge came back saying Mia’s was even better.
“(The judge) on the event has been doing it for 20-plus years and says she doesn’t remember it ever happening,” Bernard said. “So it’s not like it’s a new judge. This was a seasoned judge who has been doing it a long time.”
Mia’s perfect score highlighted a great weekend for the Spartans at the Dartmouth Titans meet last weekend. Just a few days after moving into their new gym, the program had athletes from each of its competitive programs taking part.
Recalling the highlight, Mia turns red in the face and shies away from questions.
“She’s pretty proud of herself,” Bernard said. “She didn’t really know what to expect – it’s only her second year competing.”
When it comes to showcasing her skills, however, the daughter of Darson and Annette Murphy opens up. As Bernard and other girls from the club set up the vault, she gets ready to perform. With blazing speed, she tears across the gym, launches off the vault but botches her skill in mid-air, landing awkwardly on the mats and bursting out laughing. All tension aside now, she executed three more pristine runs.
Vaulting is her favourite part of gymnastics, she said.
The perfect score amazed Spartans manager Tanya MacKenzie. She credited the time and effort both the kids and coaches put in.
“I’ve been involved for 37 years with this club and I don’t ever remember (a perfect score), ever,” she said. “Even the judges at the meet said they hadn’t remembered a time when they gave out a 10.”
And it couldn’t have happened to a better kid, Bernard said, as she put an arm around the shy girl and smiled into her red face and watery eyes.
“She works so hard every single day. It doesn’t come naturally to her. But she comes in and gives it her all every day. It was well, well, well deserved.”