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A local athlete catches the attention of the judges on Canada's Got Talent

A local athlete catches the attention of the judges on Canada's Got Talent

I think I was lucky. “It was filmed in one day, 12 hours before I had to leave,” says rhythmic gymnast Carmel Calima about her TV appearance.

Carmel Calima appears on stage alone with a six-foot ribbon, and begins moving rhythmically to the tune of Brenton Wood's upbeat 1967 hit, Baby I got it.

No sooner no Canada's got talent Judge Lilly Singh comments to Howie Mandel about a lone artist appearing on such a large stage alone, when the company arrives.

Calima was joined by 17 other Team Canada rhythmic gymnasts, all dressed in black in stark contrast to Calima's pink leotards.

And the audience explodes.

“It's difficult, we use six-metre tapes… It took a lot of practice to synchronize everything,” explains the 26-year-old athlete, originally from Estonia who now invites Barry to his home.

Kalima was dancing before she could talk and she still loves it. It's a family sport. Her mother, Janika Mulder, ran three gyms in Estonia before the family came to Canada.

The family, including her father, Kaupo Calima, now runs three gymnastics facilities called Glimmer Gym in Ontario — one in Oakville, another in Toronto, and one much closer to home in Barrie. She works in the family business and competes for Team Canada with her mother as coach.

She credits her mother, who knows how to share her passion, for her lifelong love of the sport, which she explains has four pieces of equipment: hoops, balls, clubs and ribbons.

“In the routine, we have to combine elements that are balances, jumps and turns,” she says, noting that there are also throws and twists, risks that involve throwing the apparatus high, rolling and part of the dancing. “All of this has to fit into one minute and 30 seconds… You have to design it into a story.”

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All to be combined with a designer ballgown to match the theme.

Kallemaa has a strong social media presence, with 13,700 followers on Instagram alone. A post for one of her performances caught the attention of one of the TV show's producers and she was invited to audition.

She had previously rejected the idea of ​​appearing on television, considering that perhaps it was what others did. But she recognized an opportunity when it called, not only for herself but also to shed some light on rhythmic gymnastics, and perhaps grow its audience.

Not to say it was easy. Calima, who regularly travels around the world and performs in front of thousands of people, became nervous. Performance is one thing, she says. Having to speak and address eminent referees with the public is another matter entirely.

“It was one of the best experiences,” she says now, without revealing whether we will see more of her or not. Canada's got talent.

“I think I was lucky. I filmed a day before, 12 hours before I had to leave… The producers are very nice, and they are able to help if needed,” she said.

The show aired during the first half of April and received “yes” from all four judges. And on Tuesday, May 7, viewers will find out whether or not she made the cut to the judges.

Meanwhile, Calima's busy competition schedule continues. The Canadian Championships are held at the end of May, and immediately following are the Pan American Championships in Guatemala.

Kalima says she plans to continue doing gymnastics for as long as possible. At 26 years old, she is definitely on the older side of the sport, as it is not unusual to see gymnasts retire at 20 or 22 years old, although there are some who are still competing at 30 years old.

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She intends to persevere and has her eye on the Los Angeles Olympics in four years.

As for how she'll handle the TV show? Well, she doesn't say.

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