Could the next Simone Biles or Laurie Hernandez be living right here in Florida? Gymnasts train from a young age, for multiple hours a day, trying to reach their goals. While some are aiming for the Olympics, some have another level of greatness in mind. The Gulf Breeze Gymnastics team explains how these young women (and one young man) stay motivated and focused on their futures.
The vault is Caitlyn Marinaccio’s favorite event. Her reasoning is simple. “I know that I can always make it over the table,” the young lady grinned. “I know that I’m a powerhouse and that I’ll never mess up.”
She’s full of confidence, in the best way possible. After all, it is one of the most important parts of being a gymnast. There’s no shortage of the feeling at Gulf Breeze Gymnastics. “I can just get up there and do it,” said Addison Heyek, of her favorite event, the beam.
The Olympics have served as a motivator, and the team is working harder than ever.
“I feel amazed,” Heyek said of watching the routines.
Alie Fowler is one of the coaches at GBG. Like many coaches, she’s pushing her kids towards their goals, whatever they may be.
“Some kids are aspiring to be an elite gymnast like the Olympians, some are aspiring for a college education, trying to get a college scholarship,” said Fowler.
Balancing gymnastics with their school work can be tough, but these girls are hoping that in the end, a college scholarship will come from their hard work.
“Making the Auburn gymnastics team would make me feel incredible,” said Grace Keigley, an 8th grader, as she practiced some skills on the uneven bars. “And, like all this hard work has paid off.”
Grace said she’s realized the Olympics aren’t in her cards, but she’ll be just as happy with an awesome college education.
“It’s really hard to have school and gymnastics back-to-back, it’s a lot of late nights doing homework, but it’ll pay off in the end,” she finished.
They’re working hard to stick the landing, whether it’s a gold medal, or a college degree.
Pensacola State College will be hosting a big tournament September 24th and 25th if you’d like the chance to see these skills in person.