It’s the end of a gymnastics era in Calgary after the sudden closure of one of the city’s most prominent clubs.
The Stampede City Gymnastic Club, the former training site of Calgary Olympic artistic gymnast Kylie Stone, put out a message on Facebook Tuesday informing people they “ceased operations after 38 years of providing superior instruction in the discipline of Artistic Gymnastics to athletes of all levels on both the recreational and competitive side.”
The news came as a shock to club members and their parents, including Calgary mom Josie Levesque. Her two daughters were in Thursday classes at the gym club and now she’s left with a lot of questions and few answers.
“We were there last Thursday and everything ran as normal and when we left the teachers said, ‘OK see you guys next week,'” said Levesque.
“So yeah, I’m quite surprised by this, absolutely.”
Levesque, a single mom whose daughters are four and six and have been in the Stampede City gymnastics program for two years, said she forked out $500 for this session and it still had three classes left. She’s hoping for a refund, but isn’t expecting one. She’s talked with some parents who had recently committed to the summer sessions – and now those parents aren’t sure what’s happening next.
“There was no explanation as to why the club was shutting down,” Levesque said, noting that it always appeared well run, with great coaches and club staff.
“An explanation should be given if they’re not going to be even giving a refund, or not even addressing the situation.”
Levesque has attempted to call and email the club for answers, to no avail.
The club had more than 1,000 athletes, both recreational and competitive, and a 22,000 square-foot facility on 32 Avenue in Calgary’s northeast. The club’s website states that Stampede City’s programs have been overseen by David Holmes and Judy Howard-Holmes since 2004. The club is operated as a non-profit organization by a volunteer board of directors.
The club was first founded by Victoria Toane and Lenka Lobkowicz back in 1980. The website said they employed more than 30 coaches that were training athletes at all levels of the sport.
Attempts to contact the club were unsuccessful both via telephone and an email address provided by the club for any questions related to the closure.
In their Facebook statement they said, “As this chapter comes to a close, we wish everyone the best in their future endeavors.”