Gymnastics schools get Olympic boost

Area schools see surge in interest

SAN ANTONIO - The women's U.S. Olympics gymnastics team took the gold; now gymnastics studios are taking the calls.

At Artemov's Gymnastics in Stone Oak,  calls are up about 60 percent since the beginning of the games, according to office manager Amanda Gutierrez.

"Our classes are overbooking," she said. "We're trying to look for more staff. Our classes are filling up so fast."

The competition in London seems to be catapulting interest in the sport as children and their parents are inspired by the athletics and artistry on the beams, bars and mats.

Cordelia De la Fuente, 7, a student at Artemov's, said she particularly likes to watch the gymnasts compete on the bars.

"I want to go to the Olympics and win first place," she said.

Her dream is something her coach, Artemov, knows something about. Competing for the Soviet Union in the 1988 games in Seoul, Artemov won four gold medals and one silver.

"Gymnastics is for everyone," he said. Even if a child is not destined to become a star gymnast, the training lays the groundwork for other sports.

"It's a wonderful place to start," he said. "It's great for flexibility, strength."

While the seasoned gymnasts practiced their vaults and flips, beginning campers appeared just as determined as they wobbled across the balance beam, barely of the floor.

Livia Washington, 6, said she will be watching the gymnasts in London.

"I like when they flip and stuff."


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