Local girls aspire to be great gymnasts at a young age - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local girls aspire to be great gymnasts at a young age

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YAKIMA, WA - A love for gymnastics often starts at a young age. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles got her passion for gymnastics when she was just six years old, and the same goes for Gabby Douglas.

Reporter Haley Gibbs spoke with a group of young girls in Yakima who are working hard to be the best gymnasts they can be, regardless of the sport's ups and downs.

"It's fun to almost be scared in this sport," Margaret Maxwell admitted, a 13-year-old gymnast at Gymnastics Plus.

These young girls can definitely feel the adrenaline that comes from participating in such an active sport.

"[It's] very powerful, like I'm flying and just like brave," Margaret said.

And bravery is a characteristic, not a skill.

"Gymnastics teaches discipline and attention to detail. It teaches them how to work hard and achieve skills, which can play into helping them in school or helping find a job." Melinda Merritt told us, who is the office manager at Gymnastics Plus. "Our ultimate goal is to create good citizens and teach hard work, dedication, perseverance, and committing to their team and themselves to get the best product out on the floor." 

At just 13 years old, Jordyn Busey seems to have that concept down.

"I tried really hard to get to this level, so I guess I just had a lot of commitment to get to where I am," Jordyn told us.

Gymnastics Plus has a lot of passion, which is driven by the coach and fueled by the kids.

"I talk gymnastics all the time, the kids love it; when are we going to get new skills, what are we going to work on next," Merritt shared. She admits that when the kids master each individual skill "you see the light bulb moment where they're like oh, that's what it should feel like". 

Not only is the sport great for these young athletes, it also has a good family-bonding element.

"The program is great, we have a great family atmosphere. We are family first, gymnastics second," said Merritt.

Which is why here, their goal isn't necessarily to train for the Olympics, but instead talk about more tangible goals.

"Those kids train 6 to 8 hours a day, they travel around the world...it's giant commitment." Merritt informed us. "We talk about college scholarships and NCAA and what we can do to get them there. "

And these kids are fine with that. Jordyn shared that she'd like to go to level 10 and then go to college, whereas Margaret wants to do college gymnastics at University of Washington, where her brothers and sisters are going.

Although these girls have more easily obtainable goals, they still plan on watching the Olympics and learning a few things from their idols.

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