A group of young gymnasts has been doing a lot of jumping and dancing around. This time it’s not for one of their performances, but rather because they won a visit from Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.
Members of the Arlington Gymnastics program were granted the visit today at Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center as a reward for their efforts in selling tickets to the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which takes place at the Verizon Center on Thursday.
The Arlington Gymnastics program consists of about 200 girls on the Arlington Aerials team, about 40 boys on the Arlington Tigers team and more than 1,000 weekly gymnastics class participants of all ages. They are all welcome to attend the special meet-and-greet with Biles.
Twenty-five of the young gymnasts also will be a part of the show at the Verizon Center tomorrow, according to Arlington Gymnastics employee and coach Sonja Hird Clark. The children will be a part of the opening act and for a time will share the stage with Olympians, who will be performing on various pieces of equipment.
“The kids work so hard at this sport and it’s so exciting for them to have the chance to see an Olympian,” she says. “They overcome mental blocks and fears when they see a gold medalist walking through that door.”
The Arlington Gymnastics program is subsidized by Arlington County through the parks and recreation department. Hird Clark says it gives members of all socioeconomic statuses a chance to get involved in gymnastics.
“One of the things that excites me about our gym club is it’s all walks of life,” she says. “We have every type of child in our community… and that’s inspiring to me.”
Photo (top) courtesy Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation