SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2016

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August 2016 44 t SPORT Report 16 and can be used for gymnasts from recreation to team. It's designed for year- round use to develop a physically active lifestyle for today's youth. USA Gymnas- tics provides a complete guide for club owners, with suggestions they can use to reach out to underserved communities, local schools, special needs groups and more. Growing The Sport On The Local Level Mary Lee Tracy, head coach and presi- dent at Cincinnati Gymnastics, frequently recognized as one of the top gyms in the country, says the 2016 USA Women's Gymnastics Team has it all and will be a great boost to the sport. "I believe that more young girls will get excited about gymnastics this year due to the diversity of the team! From sizes, shapes, ages and ethnicity — this Olympic Team has it all." Tracy, who has coached numerous Olympic, World and Pan American teams and individual champions, and was inducted in the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2008, says she and her staff offer a variety of teaching styles to reach the needs of every child. "The continuous developments in the areas of technique, sports medicine and mental training keep progress moving forward. Education is very important to me and to USA Gymnastics. My goal is to develop strong-minded, independent young wom- en and to prepare them for a successful adult life." Cincinnati Gymnastics also participates in Special Olympics, offering an eight- week camp in the fall in preparation. "It is free for the school to come in on Fridays in preparation for the big event," she said. In Alabama, Leila Burkett, director of Mountain Brook Gymnastics (in the Birmingham area), said excitement is always high during the Olympic Games: "We consistently see a surge in en- rollment around the Olympic Games. Children get excited because seeing the competitors in the Olympics is thrilling. It looks like fun because it is fun." Over the years, Mountain Brook Gym- nastics has produced a number of state and regional champions, as well as re- gional and national qualifiers. One recent student, Brooke Kelly, the 2014 L10 Na- tional Bars Champion, was signed to the University of Missouri. Currently, there are about 750 students, ranging from eighteen-month-olds in a "mommy and me" class to teenagers working toward Elite Gymnast status. "We have 115 girls on our Compulsory Competitive team, which is one of the largest in the state, in- cluding some girls who put in more than twenty hours a week of training under Helen Nabors, our competitive director," Burkett said. "They are working on their qualifiers with hopes of one day being part of the national team." No matter how far a child wants to go in gymnastics, it all starts with the basics, Burkett said. "The sport has gotten much more difficult and more advanced over the years, and children go through many progressions as they learn. Each new skill builds on the one before it. The difficulty level goes up, the routines get longer and they rise to the challenges." For more information on the various programs and educational offerings of USA Gymnastics, visit www.usagym. org. n "We consistently see a surge in enrollment around the Olympic Games. Children get excited because seeing the competitors in the Olympics is thrilling. It looks like fun because it is fun." —Leila Burkett, director of Mountain Brook Gymnastics Future gymnasts at Mountain Brook Gymnastics develop their balance beam skills. Mountain Brook Gymnastics.

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