Dani Gruber went to her first ever World Trampoline Championships with modest goals in mind.
The 17-year-old Kelowna athlete’s performance was anything but pedestrian as she led Canada to the top of the podium on Saturday in Odense, Denmark.
Gruber, who trains at the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre, posted the top score among all competitors, as Canada won the gold medal in the double mini team event.
Great Britain was second and the U.S. placed third.
For Gruber, who began competing in gymnastics at the age of nine, a world title was the ultimate reward for her commitment to the sport over the years.
“It just means so much, all the hard work, the hours I’ve put in, it feels like the work has all been worth it,” said Gruber, who arrived home on Monday night. “It feels unreal to get on the podium, to win for our national team. It was great.”
Gruber’s teammates were Arden Oh of Calgary, Tamara O’Brien of Coquitlam and Karine Dufour of Laval, Que.
In the senior individual double mini event, Gruber qualified for the finals before placing seventh overall.
“It was my first worlds and honestly, my expectations were just to land my passes and do the best I could,” said Gruber, a Grade 12 student at KSS. “Going up against all those experienced athletes, I just wanted to land my passes. Making the finals, I was really happy, and medaling in the team event, that was the cherry on top. It was pretty cool.”
Gruber made her presence felt on the national stage this summer, winning the women’s individual double mini title at the Canadian championships in Calgary.
Gruber, who has been recovering from an injury, will take some time off before returning to training next year.