Top News

Sister Act

Josie Conrad, left, and her sister Abby Conrad outside the Pictou County Gymnastics Club in New Glasgow.
Josie Conrad, left, and her sister Abby Conrad outside the Pictou County Gymnastics Club in New Glasgow. - Kevin Adshade

Stellarton siblings devoted to gymnastics

STELLARTON – They’ve always known gymnastics. 
When sisters Josie and Abby Conrad – born a little more than a year apart – each turned 18 months old, they were enrolled in the Dartmouth Titans’ Mommy & Me gymnastics program.
As soon as they moved to Stellarton about eight years ago, they immediately joined the Pictou County Gymnastics Club. And they haven’t stopped since.
“I don’t really remember life without gymnastics,” says Josie, who at 14 is the older of the two. “It’s just always been there. We both love the sport very much – it’s our life.”
Both of them recently competed at the Atlantic gymnastics championships in New Brunswick, where Josie was first in the vault and seventh overall (“I was happy, but I know I can do better than that,” Josie said), while Abby finished third overall in her division. 
“I was very pleased,” Abby said of her result in Fredericton. “And surprised, because there were so many other girls there. I think it was my best competition.”
That followed impressive results at provincials in early April, where Abby was third in the vault and bars, fourth in the floor and 11th on the beam (and first overall), while Josie finished first in the floor routine, third on the bars, fifth in the vault and sixth on the beam (fourth overall). 
Melissa Cruickshank has been coaching at the PCGC since the Conrad sisters joined. 
“They drive each other in the gym,” she said. “They’re both at a similar level now, and it’s to the point where seeing each other get a new skill motivates the other one. It’s a healthy competitiveness.”
The younger Conrad seems to have an ability to take the good with the bad; she’s pleased when she knows she nailed a routine, but if she stumbles – in a figurative or literal way – she’s able to get past that and focus on what’s coming next.  
“When I know a did a good routine, I’m always happy with that,” Abby says. “When I know I had a bad one, there’s always going to be a next time.
“It’s never easy, and that’s what I like about it. I like doing new skills because I like the challenge.”
You’d think that, being siblings, there’d be a natural competitive rivalry between the two, but that’s not really the case; they try to support each other as much as possible.
They train together 15 hours per week at the gymnastics club “so when she has a mental block,” Abby says, “I can say to her, ‘you can do it’.”
That goes both ways, of course.
“She always supports me with gymnastics, at practice or competition,” Josie says of her sister. “If I’m struggling, she’ll come over and calm me down.”
Anyone who’s had a sibling can tell you it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 
“Oh, we get along,” Josie says with a slight laugh, “but we do have our moments.”

Recent Stories