Motivated by Olympic team, Augusta area gymnasts train harder

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When Gabby Douglas nailed a routine to help her win Olympic gymnastics gold in London, Alex Mazur was motivated to do likewise. When Jordyn Wieber left the Olympic stage in tears after finishing fourth in the women’s all-around qualifying, Alex cried, too.

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Taylor Ferreira, 8, looks on as gymnastics instructor Lisa Calhoun helps Braydan Lee, 9, on the bars at Gymnastics Gold.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Taylor Ferreira, 8, looks on as gymnastics instructor Lisa Calhoun helps Braydan Lee, 9, on the bars at Gymnastics Gold.

“Watching her broke my heart,” said the 15-year-old from Evans.

The success and missteps of the U.S. gymnastics team have inspired gymnasts-in-training such as Alex.

The exploits of the Fab Five have made many even more determined to follow in their heroes’ footsteps.

Gymnastics Gold owner and coach Jim Mousseau said the Olympics has had an effect on his gymnasts.

“How the (Olympic) girls are doing is how they’re doing,” Mousseau said. “They react to what’s going on.”

Drahomira Krizova, the owner of Aiken Gymnastics, said her gymnasts train harder and arrive at the gym determined to improve their skills when the Olympic Games come around every four years.

“They say, ‘I want to be like Gabby.’ I say ‘OK, but it’s many years and many hours,’ ” Krizova said.

She remembers the surge of interest after the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team success at the 1996 games in Atlanta. She expects something similar in the next few weeks as registration for the new season begins.

“I know when the Americans do good, the kids are excited,” said Krizova, who was a member of the 1976 Czechoslovakia – now the Czech Republic – Olympic gymnastics team.

At Haydens International Gymnastics Academy and Cheer, owner Dennis Hayden agreed that a successful U.S. team motivates his athletes.

“They want to do better and be the best gymnast they can be,” he said.


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