KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Look around downtown KC this weekend as future Olympians could be in the crowd. The USA Gymnastics Championships brings its trampoline and tumbling events to town.
It takes a tall town to host an event with big potential.
“This is the US Championships — this is the best of the best,” Susan Jacobsen with USA Gymnastics said.
Jacobsen manages ‘extreme gymnastics’ for the national team — specifically trampoline and tumbling. This year, she’s watching 2,200 athletes work toward moving up in the ranks.
Jacobsen praises the metro, and said it takes a dedicated sports city to host this kind of event.
“I think Kansas City supports the sport,” Jacobsen said. “Whenever we look at a town that has sports, usually people will come out and learn about sports.”
Lee’s Summit native Cassidy Wright sees the world from a very high perspective — while bouncing 20 feet in the air on a trampoline. She’s only 14-years-old, but she’s been competing at this level of her sport for five years.
“It’s cool to be in your own hometown to compete against other people who aren’t from here,” Wright said.
And downtown Kansas City will reach for a prize of its own. Jon Stephens from the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association says downtown will reap a reward of close to $5,000,000 worth of business during the gymnastics championships.
“We think Kansas City is such a fun exciting place all the time,” Stephens said. “Over a holiday like the Fourth of July, it’s a really special time for people to be in Kansas City, and we get to show off our city.”
This event can make money for cities, and potential fame for athletes. The last time USA Gymnastics brought this event to Kansas City was 2008, when the sport’s governing body used this event to name its two athletes for the games in Beijing.
“An event like this is where the kids begin to get their feet wet,” Jacobsen said. “You can say – ‘Hey, I saw that kid win at level seven and now, they’re at the Olympics’.”
The gymnastics championships will continue through next Wednesday at Municipal Auditorium. Tickets are available for purchase at the box office.