Local gymnasts inspired by Team USA

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -When the summer Olympics roll around, the sport of gymnastics is put on center stage.

“It’s so exciting because outside of the Olympics, gymnastics doesn’t really get much credit for how hard and crazy it is,” said upcoming sophomore gymnast at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Mackenzy Walvatne, who is spending her summer training at Emerald Coast Gymnastics. “Every time the Olympics rolls around, it’s one of the most watched sports, so that’s one of the most fun parts of the Olympics coming around, when it gets the recognition it deserves.”

Upping her game with the influence of this years all-around individual gold medalist.

“My favorite gymnast this year definitely has to be Sunisa Lee just because her bars are crazy. She’s the main one who stayed consistent through every routine she’s done. She hasn’t fallen once, so she’s definitely my favorite to see this Olympics.”

For Madison Ford, an upcoming senior at Seacoast Collegiate High, she looks to the 2016 all-around gold medalist in hopes of earning some medals of her own.

“Definitely Simone. She’s my favorite gymnast. She’s absolutely just changing the game. The greatest of all time. The GOAT.”

As you can imagine, it’s no easy task qualifying for the Olympics, better yet, preparing for them.

“The regimen that Olympic gymnasts have is absolutely insane,” said Madison. “And it does inspire me to want to work harder and work a lot more and get a lot more hours in the gym.”

With Suni’s big win Thursday morning, even Madison’s little sister, Mackenzie is drawing motivation at the age of 15.

“It really shows how hard you can push through. You can overcome anything. She has such a beautiful bar routine, and it’s such an inspiration how she just came back and showed everyone how great she is.”

Team USA keeping the legacy alive, and still inspiring young gymnasts all over for nearly 40 years.

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