The community of Trail and it’s gymnastics club suffered a tragic loss last week when long time coach and organizer Chris Buccini passed away.
The club was celebrating its 51st year this year and Buccini has been the heart and soul of the club as its coach and director for over 30 years.
While Buccini has been involved in many sports, his passion for the Trail Gymnastics Club superseded that of his other endeavours when he took over from Alex Ross in 1982.
Buccini tirelessly committed countless hours to the club, watching it grow and develop over the years, and producing a number of regional and provincial champions. Over 3,000 gymnasts have been coached by Buccini, first at the Tadanac Hall and since 1990 at the Greater Trail Community Centre.
The Trail club is also one of the longest running gymnastics clubs in B.C.
In 2009 Buccini was awarded the Gymnastics B.C. Member of Distinction Award and in 2010, the B.C. Sports Hero award from Sports B.C.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Buccini told the Times upon accepting the Distinction Award. “As far as I’m concerned they can call it a Member of Extinction Award because I’ve been around for so long.”
Buccini’s dedication to the sport and his students is unparalleled. He was a member of the Gymnastics B.C. board of directors for 19 years and spent several more years on the zone committee.
He settled regional disputes between clubs and took on the powerful Lower Mainland directors to earn more recognition and funding for clubs outside Vancouver’s immediate region.
But he was happiest in the gym, teaching his young proteges.
“I do this because I love to do this,” Buccini told the Times in a recent interview. “I feel satisfaction when I see a pre-schooler learn to do a cartwheel. It’s just a silly little thing. The satisfaction I get from seeing these kids progress from level to level outstrips anything else.”
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.