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By Carrie Spender, Tumbl Trak Educational Coordinator and mom of two competitive gymnasts
Preparing for a gymnastics meet is a huge undertaking for coaches, athletes, parents, judges, and volunteers who all have their part, leading up to the big day, in making sure the event is a success. For us parents, once the bun is secured in place and the last good luck hug is over, we settle into our seats and get ready for the show.
This is the one time every 4 years that all of my friends, who know nothing about gymnastics, are actually interested in the sport. It is the time where, despite our differences and issues, nations come together and show what they can do in the name of friendly competition. A video of Usain Bolt comes to mind, as he stopped an interview he was giving to pay respect as our national anthem (not his) came on in the background. That is what it is all about.
It is safe to say that the USA women dominated the podium. There were some incredible statistics going around social media about how great our ‘Final Five’ performed. However, when I look at those girls (and the alternates) I can only think of one word: PRIDE. I am proud of them, not because of their place, but because they represent a work ethic unlike any other. I am proud that they embody the true Olympic spirit as they all had beaming smiles during the whole competition. I am proud of their determination because they didn’t allow setbacks like injuries stop them from moving forward. I am proud that these are the girls who are the role models for tomorrow's athletes.
When looking back on this amazing event, there were some moments of questionable sportsmanship which the media focused on, but that is only a small fraction of the great athletes who carried themselves with dignity. I see a collective group of athletes who are willing to put themselves on the line and try to push themselves every day in a sport that they love.
In all my years with Tumbl Trak I have had opportunities that have changed my life. I have learned to be a better coach, a better person. I have had moments of awe, been starstruck, and really come to love this sport from the inside out!
My most recent experience, interviewing Houry Gebeshian, is one that I will cherish because it wrapped all these experiences into one. Here’s some of what I learned about this gracious, talented, dedicated young woman that changed my outlook on our sport forever.
As the Olympics are fast approaching, gymnastics enthusiasts are following the Road to Rio which includes many events that will decide what athletes will compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. The process of qualification can be a bit overwhelming to understand. Here’s a useful diagram that shows how the athletes make it to the Olympics:
The USA athletes have been incredibly successful at recent events and are Olympic medal contenders for sure! But, take a look at this list of International athletes who should be on your watch list.