Olympic gold medalists inspire a new generation of gymnasts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Olympic gold medalists are inspiring a new generation of gymnasts

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Millions of people are tuning in each night to watch the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team compete in London. Sydney Hogan and her friends are among them.

"When my friends watch it, they think, gosh it's cool. But I don't think they realize the time and the effort, what they have to do to compete at that level," said Hogan.

Hogan knows exactly what it takes. She competes as a Level 10 gymnast -- one step below Elite, or Olympic level competition.

"It takes, like, above and beyond what I.... They're home schooled. They train most of their day, they go 35, 40 hours a week. So it's a big step," said Hogan.

In comparison, Hogan spends about 20 hours a week at the gym. But most of the kids joining the Cedar Valley Gymnastics Academy are just starting out, and these are the classes which see massive spikes in membership every four years.

"Anywhere from 20-50% kind of a spike would not be unheard of," said Hogan's coach Kevin Crowley.

The Olympic Games are not just encouraging new members to the CVGA team. They're also inspiring the younger kids who are already at the gym every day to try a little harder during practice.

"The enthusiasm from the littlest girls on up -- you can see it everyday on the team. All the girls come in and they're talking about what Gabby did," said Crowley.

"They're saying, I want to be like them! All you have to do is say, okay, well point your toes. Jump up higher!" agreed instructor Sheante Klacik.

Klacik is a retired gymnast who turned to coaching the younger kids a few years ago. She knows how important it is for the girls to have someone they can look up to -- especially a woman of color like Gabby Douglas.

"She's a great role model for a lot of the girls -- including myself," said Klacik. "Even though I didn't make it there, it's still one of those things that makes me want to continue to coach gymnastics and help girls reach those types of goals."

Hogan knows a lot of the girls look up to her as well, and she encourages them to follow in her footsteps. The path might not take them to the Olympics, but the skills they'll learn along the way go far beyond the gym.

"It teaches you time management, strength, hard work. It's a great sport to get into. I can honestly say that," said Hogan.

 

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