With coronavirus, futures of US gymnasts hoping to make the Olympic team up in air

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Under photos of two decades worth of U.S. Olympic gymnasts who trained at the Great American Gymnastics Express Center, a pair of metro gymnasts are hard at work trying to follow in their footsteps.

“We have the template of what happens every four years. The last quarter mile, going into the Olympic trials, you don’t change anything,” coach Al Fong said.

But for Kara Eaker and LeAnne Wong, things are quickly changing.

“It’s been on everybody’s mind. They are watching the news they are crossing their fingers,” Fong said.

As FOX4 headed upstairs to watch the competitors in action, parents got the news from USA Gymnastics. All meets this month were cancelled.

“Pretty much hourly changes,” Jack Remington, a parent, said.

Eaker and Wong were among the quartet of Olympic hopefuls to be affected first by the coronavirus. The team announced it wasn’t heading to next month’s International meet in Italy. That could have gone a long way in securing their spots on the team.

Now, there are real questions about whether the Olympic games they’ve trained for their whole lives will even happen. If they do, will the duo get to make another impression on those who ultimately select the team of four?

“We have no control over that. The parents have no control over that, that’s why it’s so stressful for everybody, and the kids just have to keep doing what they do. Who knows, this could turn around in a month and a half. You never know. Or, the worst could happen. They could ultimately close out the Olympics and postpone it, which would be crazy.”

For now, Eaker and Wong will keep training day and night. Meanwhile, the gym goes through the same disinfectant plans as always, wiping down mats and bars to make sure the gymnasts are healthy if they get the chance to try to go for the gold.

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