Bloecher Hones Her Talent at Holliston Gymnastics

Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Maddie Bloecher takes her Special Olympics and Elite Gymnastic Academy experience to Holliston Gymnastics. Contributed photo
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

At the time, the youngest of the three Bloecher siblings, Sophie, happened to be enrolled in gymnastics, while older sisters Maddie and Olivia, watched. After watching her sister for a few months, the elder sister decided that she wanted to try the sport out for herself, so at seven, Maddie Bloecher was enrolled in the Little Gym in Medway, where she would begin her gymnastic career.
“I enjoyed watching the vault and beam exercises and thought that I wanted to do that. I’d be an awesome gymnast,” she said.
Being a dancer since the age of four, she decided to concentrate on the floor exercise part of gymnastics where she could incorporate her own style. As a dancer, she has been taught ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and modern, but it’s hip-hop that really strikes her fancy.
“I like hip-hop the best, because the instructor teaches me all kinds of moves and I really like the music, all the moving around and acting goofy,” Maddie said. “Floor exercises let me do all that, and it’s fun. I also do cartwheels, forward rolls, and my favorite, round-offs, in my routine.”
Two years into her gymnastic career at the age of nine, Elite Gymnastic Academy in Ashland started a Special Olympics Program. Maddie, having Down syndrome, got involved in the upstart program and worked closely with her student coach Carson Cronin, whose mom just happened to be the Co-Coach of the Holliston gymnastics team (which is a co-op with Medway and Millis), where Maddie resided.
Participating in Special Olympics, she took part in all four events: beam, bar, floor and vault.
“Maddie never ceases to amaze us. She works really hard, and her sense of determination carries her even when something is difficult,” Mari Anne Bloecher, Maddie’s mom, said. “The floor is her go-to event, and she is very confident and loves gymnastics and performing.”
Although the floor exercise is her favorite event, Maddie still enjoys the other three events almost as much.
“On the bars, I enjoy flipping, while the beam is a little bit frightening,” she said. “I’m terrified of heights and don’t want to fall off the beam. I have to keep telling myself don’t look down, don’t look down, just do your routine. I need to overcome my fear of heights, so I work my hardest on the beam.”
The vault is another routine that she especially enjoys, because she gets to run and jump on the spring board and fly over the vault like a bird.
Maddie takes part in the summer Special Olympics which is held at Harvard University on the first of June. Last summer, competing as a level three Special Olympian, she took home silver in the all-around, gold on the vault and bronze in the floor exercises.
Prior to entering Holliston High School, it was Maddie’s student coach who brought the idea to the Panther Coaches about her participating on the school team. Mrs. Bloecher talked with Bre Vacca, the other Co-Coach, and the team wanted Maddie to come out for the squad.
“All the girls on the team love and support her,” Co-Coach Cronin said. “She has a great personality and asserts herself. When she is not performing, she is always cheering the rest of her teammates and on occasion even coaches them.”
The transition from Elite to the high school team was a relatively smooth one, having known a lot of the girls prior. Mrs. Bloecher feels that her daughter has not been overwhelmed and loves being on the team, while all of her teammates are welcoming and encouraging.
“There is great support throughout the program, and everyone on the team is always cheering for whoever is participating at that time, including Maddie,” she said
For better or for worse, Maddie’s first ever high school competition was full of drama.
“I was a little nervous at first, but got used it because of all my friends on the team,” she said. “During my floor routine while I was doing a leap, I landed funny and twisted my ankle. I finished my routine and hobbled off the mat. It was very special to me, as all my friends and teammates were rushing to congratulate me and bring me ice.”
As she enters her sophomore year at Holliston High School, Maddie is looking to not only improve her floor routine while adding new elements to her program, but she also wants to become more of an active participant. In addition to dance and gymnastics Maddie also sings with the high school chorus.
Thanks to her younger sister taking part in gymnastics Maddie will always have something she can be a part of due to the Special Olympics; something that she not only enjoys immensely, but is good at as well.