2022 High Performance Coach of the Year, Barbara Fraser

Jun 11, 2023

Barbara “Barb” Fraser describes herself as a “late bloomer” to gymnastics. It wasn’t until high school that she started gymnastics, courtesy of her high school physical education teacher. “My teacher is completely to blame for my love of this beautiful sport,” Barb says fondly.

It was this same teacher who led Barb to the sports and science program at a college in Ontario, at which she began her long and prolific coaching career.

Barb worked at the college’s athlete program for four years, cementing her passion for gymnastics, until she moved onto something greater. She spent the next six years coaching alongside the top coaches in Canada —the ones who had produced Olympian athletes Elfi Schlegel and Janine Rankin. “After that I never looked back,” Barb declares. “I became the head coach and followed my gymnastics career.”

Barb experienced many moments of pride since then. From watching her athletes become coaches themselves, to starting a family and becoming moms, their growth never fails to bring her happiness.

There is a lot within actively coaching that she is proud of as well. “Placing athletes on the provincial, national, and international teams then seeing all the medals they win really touches my heart,” Barb says.

Recently, Barb has worked to reach one of the highest peaks in her career. These past two years, she has travelled all over the world and set many records in BC. She has even been named Team Canada coach on the floor. She salutes the individual hard work of each athlete, coach, and parent that have helped them achieve what they have.

However, amidst the dizzying success, there is still one highlight that shines brightest for her.

At the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships, her team was able to take home the bronze medal, qualifying them to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Sydney Turner, one of the keys to the team’s success, has been Barb’s athlete since the young age of 5. “Helping her achieve her best performances yet throughout the championships, including all the ups and downs that went into that, is truly a moment forever etched into me,” Barb said.

Regarding her designation as High Performance Coach of the Year, Barb thanks viaSport for helping make this peak in her career extra meaningful.

 “As a coach of over 40 years, I have produced hundreds of athletes who train on winter and summer games teams, national teams, travel the world, and win many medals. But their smiles were what made me love this sport and keep teaching. To this date, I will get texts from past athletes thanking me. All of these make my day and fuel my desire to keep going with the next generation. But, until now, I never thought it would mean so much to actually be recognized for the decades of work that I truly love, and to have now managed to achieve what I only witnessed for others. I guess there is only one more part to this dream that can top all this…  let’s see what 2024 brings!”

Congratulations once again to Barbara Fraser on winning 2022 High Performance Coach of the Year, and good luck at the 2024 Paris Olympics!