For young gymnasts in Madera, the prospect of an Olympic routine may be some years off, but this did not stop more than 122 girls from getting a sample of what the summer games were like, or how it feels to stand on the podium when the medals are presented.
For the team members and newcomers TEC Gymnastics, 528 Noble St., hosted its first-ever TEC Olympics. In two shows Saturday morning, the aspiring athletes got to know the experience of balancing, leaping, and flipping through the air, before their bare feet landed on the gym mat to the cheers of the audience.
They performed all four of the female artistic events that are featured in the Olympics: vault, bars, balance beam, and floor exercises, along with tumbling and the trampoline. For most of them, it was their first time performing.
The event, TEC owner Tammi Britton said, happened to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics, and was an opportunity to imitate their heroes as they performed in Rio de Janeiro.
“A lot of them have watched the Olympics,” Britton said. “Some of my kids have met Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, and gotten pictures with them.”
It’s an experience that’s all-too-familiar to Britton, who was in the same boat as many of her pupils. She was first inspired to do gymnastics at a later age, after watching the Soviet competitor Olga Korbut ignite audiences across the world during the tragic 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
“I started when I was 13, when I watched Olga Korbut,” Britton said. “And I told my mom ‘that’s what I want to do.’”
These Olympics, however, had no winners or losers. Rather than compete, they merely showcased their abilities, and their talents, with each participant receiving a medal. Noting on the success of the show, Britton has already confirmed that there will be another TEC Olympics next year.
“I expect it probably to be twice as big. We may have to do a two-day show next year.”