Article by: Doug Gallant
For athletes competing at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island, making it to the final round of competition and claiming a gold, silver or bronze medal for their home province is the ultimate achievement.
Team Alberta gymnast Artur Troyan saw his training, experience and dedication to his sport pay off this past week when he and teammate Cody Cyman captured a bronze medal in the synchro trampoline competition.
As impressive as the Red Deer duo’s finish was, it becomes even more impressive when you discover what Troyan has been dealing with in his personal life.
Troyan came to Canada from Mykolaiv in the southern part of Ukraine nine years ago with his parents Dmytro and Anzhelika, both former gymnasts who now coach.
Seeing daily news coverage of the war in Ukraine and hearing firsthand from relatives and friends about the devastation and the lives that have been lost as a result of Russian bombing, attacks, and battlefield clashes are constantly in his thoughts.
“At the very beginning it was difficult for me to concentrate on things and to do anything,” Troyan said. “I was constantly checking the news and it was on the news 24/7. I had a very hard time coping with it.”
At one point last year, he was actually going to return to Ukraine but because of the war, he decided to stay in Canada and pursue post-secondary education in Alberta.
Troyan said almost every day he calls family members and friends back in Ukraine.
“I have uncles, aunts, cousins, a grandmother and many friends in Ukraine. I need to know how they are. Things are a little better for some people right now but some of my former teammates had to leave the country and are now training in Germany.”
Troyan said he was happy with the bronze medal he and his teammate won in the synchro trampoline competition.
His goal had simply been to come to the games and show people what he could do but he said he actually didn’t expect to win a medal.
“No, I hadn’t expected to win a medal. It was both a shock and relief to win bronze. There were a lot of challenges and we had to change some things, but it worked out for us.”
Troyan said training in Canada these past several years has been a great experience for him. He noted that the quality of the gyms in Canada that he’s trained at is very good and that the equipment he trains on is better than some of the equipment he trained on in the past.
Despite the distance and the communication challenges, Troyan said he’s been getting a lot of support from friends and family back in Ukraine. The support both here in Canada and in Ukraine helps motivate him.
He’s also hopeful that people back in Ukraine will draw some inspiration from his achievements. “I want to inspire others, especially the little kids.”
He told reporters that when he competes and represents his country or his province, he believes it helps show the world that despite the tragedy and the horror of what’s happening back in Ukraine you have to be positive about the future.
Following the Canada Games, Troyan will set his sights on the Elite Canada gymnastics competition and at least one other major event. There won’t be much down-time but he doesn’t mind, he prefers to keep busy.