Olympians spring for Roswell gymnasts

Horton, Maroney on nationwide tour

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ROSWELL, Ga. – The children of Roswell Gymnastics had two special guests Oct. 23 – U.S. 2012 Olympians Jonathan Horton and McKayla Maroney.

The Olympic athletes met the 250 excited children and parents at the Roswell gym at Roswell Area Park as part of the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions. Roswell Gymnastics is the largest competitive gymnastics program in Georgia. Ten Roswell gymnasts were in the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions pre-show, and one Roswell Gymnastics Future Star Gymnast, Justin Ah Chow, was selected to be in the show on Oct. 27, in the Gwinnett Arena.

The children heard stories about the athletes’ start in gymnastics, training for the Olympics and aspirations for the future. Maroney, 16, is a vault champion and was wearing a leg brace to stabilize her fractured tibia. She told the Roswell gymnasts about training six hours daily, and the excitement of the London Olympics.

Horton, 26, two-time Olympian and high bar champion, fielded questions about the beginning of his gymnastics career and what it was like performing on the worldwide stage.

“It’s amazing to be competing for your country,” Horton said. “I’ll never forget the experience.”

Both athletes said parental involvement is important to an aspiring gymnast.

“Win or lose, we need to know our parents have our backs,” Horton said.

Maroney agreed.

“Parents, always be supportive,” she said. “We would not have gone anywhere without them.”

Ben Wood, director of the Roswell men’s gymnastics team, said the visit was important to the young Roswell gymnasts.

“USA Olympians are inspirational for our team gymnasts,” said Wood. “Jonathan Horton and McKayla Maroney are the rock stars of the gymnastics world, and their visit to our gym encourages our Roswell gymnast to strive for the top of our sport.”

The Kellogg’s Tour of Champions is a floor show featuring many of the U.S. Olympic team members performing their feats for the audience. It is traveling the country and was in Atlanta Oct. 27.