Aug 10, 2012 10:08 AM

Tucson gymnastic centers see jump in enrollment thanks to Team USA

TUCSON- Gymnastics is always a favorite in the summer Olympics. Every four years the gymnasts' flips and flexibility capture the world's attention.

This year the success of Team USA has also sparked a big increase in enrollment at local gymnastic centers.

Inside Old Pueblo Gymnastics at 7670 East Wrightstown Road, it's not hard to find a young gymnast who hasn't been watching Gabby Douglas and her team members compete.

"She is good, she is really good at the uneven bars," Eight-year-old Hayden Corraeo says.

Every four years the center's enrollment spikes by 10% to 20%.

"Parents get inspired and kids get inspired by watching the Olympics and we get a boom," Owner Randy Sooter says.

He says parents sign their kids up, hoping to make them the next gold medal winner. "I think it's great for America to see the gold medal come back," Sooter says. "Kids are getting into the sport of gymnastics and getting motivated and they're inspired to be the next Gabby Douglas."

"The kids are all fired up and like, 'oh I want to do what Gabby did on the bars', or 'oh I want to do that leap thing'," Old Pueblo Gymnastics Teacher Kristen Bovre says.

It's also a nice boost financially. "It's definitely helpful, considering the economy," Sooter says.

While they may be young, many of the children realize it takes a lot of hard work to be an Olympian. "You have to train a lot and you have to eat healthy," Corraeo says.

Even though they're not quite yet at the Olympic level, they still cheer on their favorite athletes with pride.

Other local gymnastic centers are also seeing a spike in business. Tumbleweeds Gymnastics at 1859 West Grant Road enrolled 35 new students in just this past week.

The new Tucson Gymnastics Center at 4231 S. Station Master Dr. actually timed its grand-opening to coincide with the Olympic games.


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