Local gymnast receives boost for her Olympic aspirations

By Sheldon Spackman
February 26, 2018 - 12:10pm

A Red Deer gymnast has received a significant boost to her Olympic aspirations.

Kalena Soehen was named this week as one of 55 young Canadian athletes from both summer and winter sports selected by Petro-Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee to receive a Fueling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) program grant.

COC officials say the athletes and their coaches are awarded a $10,000 FACE grant to help with their journey, with $5,000 going directly to the athlete and $5,000 to their coach. The money is often used for training, equipment and travel expenses.

In addition to providing financial support, FACE athletes and coaches are invited to an annual summit to learn from Olympians and Paralympians and receive advice on media, training, public speaking and personal brand development.

In May, Soehn won Gold in Trampoline at the Canada Cup competition in Calgary in the National Junior Women Division and is currently building towards the 2024 Paris Olympics and possibly the 2020 Games as well.

The 18-year-old is coached by her father Kenneth and competes in synchro trampoline with her brother Keegan, a former Pan Am Games Gold Medalist on the national team. Soehn’s older brother Kyle is also on the national team.

Since 1988, officials say FACE grants have supported more than 3,000 athletes and coaches by providing more than $11 million in financial support.

Recent FACE grant recipients who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games include Kim McRae (Luge), Cendrine Browne (Cross Country Ski), Mirela Rahneva (Skeleton), Gabrielle Daleman (Figure Skating), Melodie Daoust (Women’s Hockey) and Chris Spring (Bobsleigh).

Developed by Petro-Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and facilitated by their National Sport partners, the FACE program supports up and coming athletes when they are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic or Paralympic Games but don’t yet qualify for government funding.

Officials say the funding is provided by Petro-Canada.

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