Gymnasts go head over heels in USA
If you want to be the best, then learn from the best.
And six talented young gymnasts from Lancashire fly out to the USA today aiming to do just that.
The girls from the City of Preston club are off to the home of the Olympic champions, hoping to discover the secrets of Rio superstars like Simone Biles.
Jayla Stocks, Aimee Glenn, Gemma Vescovi, Amy Peacock, Grace Dickinson and Jaz Greenwood will be training with one of America’s top clubs in Chicago. Legacy Elite is run by former Chinese Olympic medal winners Li Yuejiu and Wu Jiani and their daughter Anna Li, who was in the USA team at London 2012.
“It’s going to be a big trip,” said City of Preston head coach Charlotte Coles. “The experiences they will have will just be amazing and we want to implement any changes to their training programme straight away - the earlier the better.”
The Preston Super Six have been fired up by watching Britain’s gymnasts make history in the Rio Games.
But, while the GB team finished with six medals - two of them gold for Max Whitlock - it was the Americans who topped the table with 12 as 4ft 8in wonder girl Simone Biles tumbled her way to four golds and a bronze.
“There is no denying that gymnastics, both men’s and women’s, has taken a firm place in the nation’s heart and the sport is rightly getting the attention and recognition it deserves,” said a spokesperson for the Preston club.
“However, even with the record-winning performances and making UK history, it was Team USA that dominated the scoreboards, especially with their explosive tumbles and powerful vaults.
“And the City of Preston Gymnastics Centre want to learn their secrets and implement them into their training from the elites down to pre-school.”
The youngest of the Preston Super Six is Jayla, who is only six and has been doing gymnastics for two years.
Aimee is eight. Simone Biles is her idol and she is keen to learn the star’s double back and flick layout on the beam.
Gemma is eight and has been at the club for two years. Amy, nine, is on the ‘elite’ pathway at the club and is hoping to meet new friends in the USA who she might one day compete against at the Olympics.
Grace, nine, is currently 13th in the UK (eighth in England) for her age. And the oldest in the team is Jaz at 14 who has been a gymnast since the age of six and has competed and trained at international level.