Lorie Henderson is an athlete, volunteer, coach, judge, builder, and fan of artistic gymnastics. She has played an essential role in the growth and development of the sport, specifically in the rural regions of Manitoba.
A multiple award-winning coach, judge, and volunteer, Henderson set the standard for excellence. Most notably, she won the Manitoba Gymnastics Association (MGA) Jack Mowat Award for significant and long lasting contributions to the organization (2000), and was awarded the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) pin for achieving the highest set standards as a coach (2006).
“Lorie’s dedication and never-ending energy has resulted in quality gymnastics programs in every region of this province. Lorie has played an integral role in the development of gymnasts, coaches, and judges and her work is sincerely appreciated by all those involved,” says Kathy Stoesz, Executive Director, MGA.
In 1963, at nine years old, Henderson began her gymnastics career as a competitor, taking part in such competitions as the 1971 Canada Winter Games in Saskatoon. At 16, she transitioned to coaching, and 20 years later she filled the role of Head Coach and Program Director for the Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Club – a role she still commands today.
Henderson has been the Head Coach and representative for Manitoba’s gymnastics circuit in a number of elite-level competitions, including the Canada Winter Games, Western Canada Summer Games, Western Canadian and Canadian Championships. Her high-performance provincial team coaching career has spanned the last 27 years. Henderson has travelled the world representing Manitoba’s high-level coach and judge streams. Most recently she travelled to Glasgow, Scotland to coach 15-year-old Isabela Onyshko at the Commonwealth Games.
Arguably Henderson’s most influential role was her dedication to the Regional Stream Program. At a time where gymnasts lived or practiced in clubs based in Winnipeg, Brandon, or Portage La Prairie, Henderson addressed the need to develop leaders, athletes, coaches, and judges in rural communities.
“She has fully believed that clubs can survive and flourish in rural Manitoba and has passed this belief on to many people. She has done this through clinics, camps, and workshops for new coaches, judges, and gymnasts. Her belief and commitment to this program are to be admired,” says Barbara Heaps, Manager, Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Centre
For the last two decades Henderson has been a strong supporter and driving force behind the advancement of gymnastics in the Regional Stream Program. As an advocate for the development of the sport in Manitoba, Henderson attended competitions and began to set routines, offered clinics for gymnasts and coaches, and took on the task of recruiting and training judges. She has also organized coaching conferences, established routines for the Manitoba Games, and coached over 30 provincial champions.
Manitoba’s gymnasts, clubs, coaches, and judges are recognized on international stages largely due to Henderson’s commitment and passion for artistic gymnastics.