BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Only six gymnasts get to represent Team USA at the Olympics this summer, and two of them could be from the Kansas City area.
“It’s really amazing to have two G.A.G.E. gymnasts going to the Olympic Trials, especially because it’s in St. Louis,” gymnast Leanne Wong said.
In two weeks, 17-year-old Leanne Wong and 18-year-old Kara Eaker will compete at the Olympic Trials in St. Louis for a chance to represent the United States on the world’s biggest stage. Only 18 women were selected to compete at the trials.
“They’re going to try come up with the four strongest athletes that they think will go all around. Then they’re going to try to pick those athletes who have a shot at being a gold medalist in an individual event,” G.A.G.E. owner and coach Al Fong said.
Eaker excels on the balance beam, and Wong could be in contention as an all-around gymnast.
“It’s just really exciting to know it’s actually happening,” Eaker said.
One-tenth of a point could be the deciding factor on whether these teens make the team or not.
“If you lift the leg up because you’re off balance and you catch your balance, that’s three-tenths. If you take a fall, that’s one point. If you grab the beam, that’s five-tenths. So lots of things go into this,” Fong said.
Wong and Eaker will practice twice a day leading up to the big event. But naturally there’s still going to be a few butterflies.
“We’ve been dreaming of going to the Olympics for almost like 5-10 years now,” Wong said.
The U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials are scheduled for June 24-27 in St. Louis. The team will be announced at the end of the trials.