Young gymnasts inspired by national team

Young gymnasts inspired by national team
Gymnasts inspired by Olympics (Source KSWO)
Gymnasts inspired by Olympics (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The high-flying United States Women's Gymnastics Team has several local children making plans for future Olympic competitions.

"I'm thinking of being at the Olympics of 2024, so I'm working as hard as I can to get up there," Said gymnast Grace Flanagan.

Flanagan is just one of the many gymnasts at Fliptastic Gymnastics in Lawton who has been obsessed with the gymnastics events in Rio. The gym features girls of all ages, many of whom are watching the United States compete in the Olympics for the first time.

Watching the girls who range from 16 to 21 represent the United States has really sent a message to the young girls sitting at home, watching and dreaming.

"It's something that is possible but it's a lot of work," gymnast Kennedy Biggs said. ""I think I can do it, I'm just going to have to push"

"It makes me think I can do anything that is possible," Flanagan said.

The girls have been watching every bit of Olympic gymnastics possible, viewing the high-flying acrobatics of the gymnasts as something that doesn't even seem realistic.

"The little kids love it, they love tumbling, they love watching the bigger girls do stuff they always think they are some kind of super hero or something like that," gymnast Eboneisha Armstrong said. "It's really great and inspiring the little kids to do better and work harder to get there."

Courtney Boggs is the program director at Fliptastic Gymnastics and said to gymnasts, the Olympic Games are just like Christmas, except their Christmas only comes once every four years.

"All of these girls look at them and are like 'that's what I want to be' and so it kind of puts into perspective once every four years what these little kids are working for," Boggs said. "I think it's just a magical event for them because they can see their dreams."

Gymnastics is a very competitive sport, and for the Olympics, only 5 people from the entire country actually make the team. Boggs says once every four years when the entire nation comes together and buzzes watching the athletes compete, it gets very exciting and is something that the girls cannot stop talking about."

"It's all they can talk about when they come inside," Armstrong said. "They're like did you see Simone on bars yesterday? Did you see her do that flip off the vault table? Like that's all they talk about and sometimes the coaches are like OK guys lets focus on getting you there."

Boggs seconded that sentiment, saying the girls she coaches idolize those they've been seeing in the national spotlight the last few weeks.
"Little boys look up to Tom Brady, these little girls look up to Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas," Boggs said. "That's who they are looking up to and for them that's their idea for a superstar. And it gives them hope of she started just like I did"

Boggs says she knows it is obviously very difficult for anyone to make the Olympic team, but with her girls it's not necessarily just about Olympic medals.

"Something we really focus on here is life skills," Boggs said. Gymnastics isn't forever, your body can't do this forever just like any sport but the things you learn here you can take with you after retirement, no matter where you go."

The women's all-around individual events finished Thursday, with individual apparatus competitions taking place next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The Olympics as a whole finish up August 21st.

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