Young Hawaii gymnasts gaining national recognition - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Young Hawaii gymnasts gaining national recognition

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Kira Vercruyssen Kira Vercruyssen
Dorothy Sanidad Dorothy Sanidad
Marques Bottorf Marques Bottorf
Royanne Santo Royanne Santo

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Jumping on a trampoline is not just for fun, it's also an Olympic sport. One Hawaii gymnasium brings a competitive twist to the old backyard sport and their winning national titles.

Flipping and twisting high up in the air, these Hawaii gymnasts have something to smile about. Ten athletes at Hawaii Academy return from the Junior Olympics National Championships as nationally ranked gymnasts.

"We came back with seven medals. Three gold, one silver, and three bronze," coach Kira Vercruyssen said.

Once thought of as a back yard sport, trampoline was first in the Olympics in 2000. "It is growing in the US but here in Hawaii we are the only club that does it," Vercruyssen said.

They practice for four hours a day, five days a week. "Sometimes it's challenging, that's what I like about it," nine-year-old Dorothy Sanidad said.

They compete in three events, tumbling, double mini and trampoline. "Trampoline is fun because you get to learn different skills and flips that your friends might not be able to do," 12-year-old Marques Bottorf said.

Thanks to Vercruyssen's coaching, and their hard work, Hawaii has three national champions. "It feels pretty amazing," Sanidad said.

"It was fun but your nervous because there's so many people that you have to compete against," Bottorf said.

"I'm very proud of them, they worked very hard, and I'm very happy to say that I'm their coach," Vercruyssen said.

Two first timers came back with gold medals. Royanne Santo coaches me through my first attempt at trampoline. "Just do your best and try hard," 9-year-old Santo said.

Taking her advice, I get hooked into the harness. Ok don't laugh, I could do one full twist, and even a double back. Better to leave it to Hawaii's national champions.