Eyeing 2020 games

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Caylee Douglas will start training for the 2020 Summer Olympics this year. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Future gymnasts start training early at center

Caylee Douglas eyes the 4-inch wide balance beam and without hesitation, jumps right to the challenge.

Douglas, 8, is looking to join the likes of famous American gymnasts Nastia Liukin, Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and Shawn Johnson as she begins her training for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

She will begin her gymnastics training at The Company Dance Center in Andalusia this year.

Next September, the Olympic Committee will decide the 2020 host city. As of right now, Instanbul, Turkey; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo are the leading candidates.

Right now though, Douglas said she wants to compete in the Olympics to have a good chance at becoming a gymnastics teacher.

“I just want to do it because I think it would be fun,” Douglas said.

When asked what her favorite event is, Douglas said it’s the uneven bars.

CDC director of gymnastics Kimberly Morgan said the center doesn’t have the uneven bars yet, but those will come at the mid-year. The CDC just had its grand opening recently, and will welcome new gymnastics instructor, Tona Headrick of Chattanooga, Tenn.

Morgan and Headrick are both United States of America Gymnastics certified instructors.

“To actually have the technique to stick it (the dismount or jumps) like they do (at the Olympics) and pop it like they do, that’s amazing,” Morgan said.

Douglas began tumbling last year when she was about to turn 7.

“Two years ago, they started with one tumbling class,” Morgan said. “Last year, we started busting out of the seems. So, we brought in balance beams to introduce it.

“When she (Douglas) is 16, the Olympics will roll around again, so she has a good shot at it,” she said.

At the 2012 London Olympics, the women’s artistic gymnastics team finals will resume today at 9:30 a.m. CST. The men’s and women’s individual all-around finals continue Wednesday and Thursday.

After this week, gymnastics resumes Aug. 6-7, and then ends on Aug. 11-12.

Bethany Karthaus, 15, who is a varsity cheerleader at Andalusia High School, said she’d like to be able to compete at the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She said she doesn’t really know how old she’ll be when competition rolls around.

“The gymnastics helps me with my cheering because it helps me show the fans how I can do tumbling and cheerleading at the same time and stick it all together,” Karthaus said. “It will help me beome stronger in my tumbling and cheerleading.

“Tumbling is good for gymnastics, cheerleading and even in karate,” she said.

Karthaus said she’s been glued to the TV watching the gymnastics competition in London.

“I really enjoy watching it,” she said. “I haven’t been paying attention to the past Olympics, so this is the one that I’ve been paying attention to because I want to be like them one day.

“I’ve been really watching the tumbling so I can know what to watch and know how to make mine better,” she said.

Morgan said she’s excited to get the program off and running to help those interested to become possible future Olympic gymnasts.