The next Simone Biles or Aly Raisman could come out of a Jackson County gymnastics studio.
While the Olympics showcased the world’s best gymnasts on the sport’s biggest stage, Gymnastics Lane hosted its own competition.
Thirty-six gymnasts tested their skills on the vault, beam, bars and floor Saturday in front of a packed house at Angie Mellencamp’s gymnastics studio in Seymour.
It was the second-ever recreational meet for the kids, with the youngest gymnast being 2 years old.
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Gymnastics Lane has recently seen an influx of girls sign up for clinics and camps.
“Last year, we had barely 20 and this year we have 36,” Mellencamp said. “Last year’s was a huge success. A lot of parents started posting photos (online) and talking about it to hype up this year’s meet. The Olympics right now is also playing a huge role in the gymnastics industry.
“We’re busting at the seam every night now as far as enrollment goes. I love it, the kids are great and my coaching staff is phenomenal.”
The gymnasts were broken up into four different age groups because of the large numbers.
Each athlete rotated between the four events and was judged by a member of Seymour’s high school gymnastics team.
For many of the gymnasts, it was the first time they’d performed in front of an audience.
“It was a neat setting,” Mellencamp said. “When you do recreational gymnastics, you don’t get to go to the big meets in Indianapolis and Louisville and that kind of thing.”
Mellencamp was especially impressed with her youngest gymnasts.
“I’m so proud of the 2, 3 and 4-year-olds who came out,” she said. “They won’t get to show routines until they’re about 7 or 8. They did their routines by themselves and saluted.”
This past summer, a handful of gymnasts from the Seymour gym went to Crossville, Tennessee, to partake in John Macready and John Roethlisberger’s “Flip Fest.”
Macready and Roethlisberger have both represented the U.S. in past Olympics, and they bring current Olympians to their camp on occasion.
Between Flip Fest and the Olympics, local athletes were hyped up for this past weekend’s event.
“All week long, with the women’s finals going on, there has been a lot of talk in the gym around it,” Mellencamp said. “We take our kids down to an Olympic camp during the summer time. This year, (current Olympian) Danell Leyva was there. A lot of the girls got to hang out with him and there he was on the TV this week.”
Immanuel Lutheran’s Jamie Bobb, 8, said she wants to compete on a national stage one day.
“I work really, really hard on gymnastics,” Bobb said. “I’m gonna have to say vault was my favorite. I like jumping up and doing flips in the air. I’ve been watching gymnastics in the Olympics and I want to go there. Gymnastics is fun and I like doing it.”
Brownstown’s Lanie Booher, 6, enjoyed participating in multiple events.
“My favorite event was the vault and bars,” Booher said. “I like the vault because I get to run fast and I get to come off the vault fast.”