National Gymnastics Competition Brings Elite Level To Tulsa

Sunday, July 24th 2016, 8:51 pm
By: News On 6

The last of nearly 900 gymnasts are headed home after a major championship in Tulsa.

This is the first time in several years Tulsa has hosted the event.

Flips and twists flew through the Cox Business Center on Sunday.

And 845 gymnasts wrapped up their final day at the USA Gymnastics Stars and Stripes Championships.

Finalists from 32 states holding their hands high to accept their medals.

"It's really nerve wracking, but it's really fun to like meet new people,” Maddy Shaffer said.

Shaffer, who is 12, is one of the handful of gymnasts who competed from Tulsa. She says having a national championship like this one here at home is a great opportunity.

“I was really excited so my friends and family could come and support me,” she said.

Coaches like Chauncy Haydon travel with athletes from his gym in Jenks every year to compete at events which usually are far from home.

“We usually have to go to the West Coast,” Haydon said. “Last year we went to Providence, Rhode Island, and then West Coast with Long Beach before and all over the place."

He says having the event in Tulsa is a big money maker for the city.

“It's something big for Tulsa,” he said.

And while it may be a young crowd, in the gymnastics world it's a step in the right direction.

Many of these competitors hoping to go on to the Olympics level one day.

Shaffer overcame several setbacks to compete this year. She suffered a broken toe, a seizure and a pulled leg muscle.

But she wasn't about to miss the championship, especially in her own back yard.