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Local gym owner says the Olympics inspire young gymnasts to pursue their dreams

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) - For many young athletes, watching their favorite Olympians can be a big motivator in their sports. Local gym owner, Jennie Plummer, said the summer games are an exciting time for her and her gymnastics team.

"All of the kids in the gym, especially my girls, get really excited when they get to see these girls in action," Plummer said.

Owner of the Cedar Valley Gymnastics Academy in Cedar Falls, she sees how Olympic gymnasts like Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee ignite a fire in her gymnasts.

"Watching these girls compete is pretty fantastic, it's a great group of young ladies," Plummer said.

However, a year ago, it was a different story. After the pandemic postponed the summer games and forced her gym to close for a month, Plummer said she had many challenges on her hands.

"Keeping all of our kids safe, keeping all of our coaches safe, making sure the girls get to compete."

Within the first few months of the pandemic, Plummer noticed motivation drop among her athletes and lost 25% of her clients and most of her staff.

"Gyms across the nation definitely saw a drop in membership for a while, there's always a huge influx of kids getting into the sport when we have an Olympic year," Plummer said, "last year with the pandemic and Olympics being postponed it's challenging."

Patience became key for her club gym. However, as the pandemic slowly improved, so did the gym's roster! Now with the Olympics back in action, Plummer said she's seen that drive in her gymnasts again.

"It seems to drive them a little bit more at practice, you see a few more challenges being attempted."

With quite a few members of the U.S. gymnastics team originating from the midwest, Plummer hopes it inspires her team to dream big.

"Lets them know that they can do it, they can dream big, keep moving forward, keep growing and see where they can go."

The U.S. men and women's gymnastics team will start competing in event finals Sunday, August 1st.

More stories and highlights from the Olympics at kwwl.com/olympics.

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