BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A local former Olympian and Hall-of-Famer is hoping to jump start gymnastics at the University in Kansas. The sport disappeared from KU more than four decades ago.
“Let’s just try to move forward,” Terin Humphrey said.
She is spinning her wheels trying to bring a new collegiate gymnastics team to KU.
Humphrey is not one to shy away from a challenge. She won two silver medals in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
She said some of the best Athletes in the world train at the gym where she now coaches, GAGE Center in Blue Springs, Missouri.
Humphrey stressed that having a collegiate program so close, at KU, would open doors for a lot of Olympic Athletes also seeking an education.
“It’s very sad,” Humphrey said. “Everyone around us has a gymnastics program and KU could be just as good.”
Universities like Oklahoma, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Missouri have college gymnastics. KU and K-State do not.
“I think it’s unfair,” 14-year-old Gymnast Liberty Andrews said.
Gabby Espinoza, 17, said she will go D1 for gymnastics and study to become an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist.
“I have options open. KU would definitely be a great one if they had a program,” Espinoza said. “My dad went there for medical school. So, it would be really cool because I know they have an amazing medical school and program.”
Andrews would bend over backwards to compete as a Jayhawk.
“It would mean a lot because it’s close to home. a lot of my family could go out there and watch,” Andrews said.
KU Athletics said starting a program is not that simple – it’s a balancing act with things like the conference and Title IX.
“There’s never a right time. You just have to go and start the discussion,” Humphrey said. “Even if it takes a year, two years, at least you get the ball rolling.”
The program was cut in 1980, despite years of strong team finishes. KU’s website cited funding and facility challenges.
Humphrey knows universities need money for bars, beams and floors. She said some equipment companies will donate $25,000 worth of equipment to help new programs get off the ground.
“Just give us a shot,” Humphrey said. “We want it.”
Humphrey created a petition pushing for a women’s college gymnastics team at KU. If you would like to sign it, click here.
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