Last weekend, USA Gymnastics hosted its annual National Congress and Trade Show, and the P&G National Championships. Coaches, judges, and gymnasts from all around the country flocked to Hartford, Connecticut to attend lectures, earn judging credentials, and watch the nation's best gymnasts compete for national titles. What an AMAZING experience it was!
Elyse, Emily, and I attended several workshops and seminars to further our coaching skills for the instruction of gymnastics at all levels. We met Olympians and world champions, and hobnobbed with some of the most famous faces that USA Gymnastics has to offer. The Trade Show featured equipment and apparel retailers including (but not limited to) GK Elite Sportswear, Alpha Factor, Dreamlight, Tumble Trak, Mancino, and AAI. There was even a leotard worth $5,000 being raffled off for charity! Though I entered, I unfortunately did not win the opulent leotard laden with 7,000 hand-sewn Swarovski crystals. We participated in workshops and seminars on recreational and preschool gymnastics, teaching front and back giants on bars, teaching flight series on beam, Levels 3-5 floor and beam routines, motivating athletes, and SO much more! We came home with pages and pages of notes and videos to bring back to the gym to help our students of all levels.
Since 2013 marks the 50 Year Anniversary of USA Gymnastics, there was an amazing museum with several exhibits of equipment, warm ups, leotards, and videos dating back several decades! Seeing all the vintage equipment made me extremely grateful for the advances in safety in gymnastics, that's for sure!
On Friday night, the 2012 gold medal-winning women's Olympic Team was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and Emily and I were rubbing elbows with the likes of legends like Bela and Marta Karolyi during the ceremony. I was star struck!
Emily, Elyse and I, as well as some of the SGA Gymnasts who came to watch the National Championships, met several Olympians, World Champions, and National Team members, including some of my all-time favorite gymnasts!
We also had tickets to all of the competitions that took place from Thursday-Sunday, and it was absolutely incredible to see first hand the very best gymnastics that this country has to offer! The competitions were all televised on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Bailie Key dominated the Junior Women's Competition and easily took the Jr. Women's All Around title. Simone Biles won the Senior Women's All-Around Title with 2012 Olympian Kyla Ross a close second place. Kyla took the beam and bars titles, while 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney easily won the vault and floor titles. University of Michigan superstar Sam Mikulak won the Senior Men's All-Around title.
Click here to check out the Spectrum Gymnastics Flikr Account to see the photos I took from the P&G Championships!
(photos will be periodically uploaded throughout the next couple days, so keep checking back! Unfortunately, I could not bring my zoom lens into the meet so they are the best I could get)
I think the highlight of the weekend was Emily, SGA gymnast Teghan and I getting chosen at random to participate in a handstand contest during the Senior Men's Finals on Sunday. We were led down onto the floor where all the gymnasts had just finished competing and participated, along with about 20 other gymnasts, in a handstand contest with 2013 National Team members Kennedy Baker and Elizabeth Price! I can't describe the magnitude of how amazing it was to be down on the competition floor in the middle of the arena, surrounded by the nation's best gymnasts on the very spring floor they had just competed on mere minutes before. Though none of us won (Emily and I are getting a bit old and rusty for handstand contests!), it was a once in a lifetime chance to be chosen at random out of an entire arena of people. Looking up and around at the arena from that floor was a memory I will never, EVER forget.
I had an amazing time at National Congress, learned a lot of wonderful coaching strategies and ideas in the seminars, watched some unbelievable gymnastics, got the chance to meet some of the best gymnasts this country has produced in recent years, and got to do a handstand contest in the arena against two National Team Members! What an incredible experience.
Don't forget to check the Spectrum Flikr account over the next few days to view my pictures, and check out the USA Gymnastics Youtube page for individual videos of all the gymnasts!
Peace, love, and gymnastics,
Spectrum Gymnastics Academy
26 Buttrick Rd
About the Author
Coach Sarah is a former Rhode Island College gymnast, NCGA National qualifier, All-American, current gymnastics coach and judge, and contributor for the gymnastics news source, The Gymternet. Find out what's going on at Spectrum and learn more about the incredible sport of gymnastics!