Local competitive gymnasts, gym owners, want to reopen in phase 2

Local competitive gymnasts, gym owners, want to re-open in phase 2

REDMOND, Wash. — The coronavirus pandemic has local competitive gymnasts losing ground.

The owner of Emerald City Gymnastics Academy in Redmond is pushing the state to allow them to re-open in phase two instead of phase three.

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Sandy Flores owns the gym and says she has about 175 competitive gymnasts. She has almost 2,000 more recreational students.

Flores says she’s asked the state if she can let in sic competitive gymnasts at a time to train inside the more than 60,000-square-foot gym. So far she says she hasn’t made any progress.

Flores says the gym has multiple sets of bars and balance beams and says employees can effectively sanitize the equipment.

The athletes who are working toward the Junior Olympics or counting on college scholarships worry they will miss out.

“It’s really hard. I miss the gym a lot,” gymnast Amanda Hargraves said. “This is definitely hurting my gymnastics career and getting a college scholarship.”

Flores, who is the United States Gymnastics Washington state chair-elect and the vice president of the United States Gymnastics Club Owners Association, says there are 74 U.S. Gymnastics gyms in the state, with more than 4,000 competitive gymnasts. She says other states are opening their gyms, and those athletes will compete head to head with Washington gymnasts in competitions, including the Junior Olympics, and for college scholarships.

She says it makes more sense to allow a few competitive gymnasts to train in phase two, than to reopen to thousands of students at once in phase three.