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Best local gymnast has eyes on Olympics

1:02 PM, Aug 3, 2012   |    comments
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  • 15-year old Emma Slappey highest ranked gymnast in Northeast Florida, has eyes on Olympics
  • Fab Five women take team gold at Olympics, inspiring young gymnasts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 15-year-old Emma Slappey can be found just about everyday this summer working out at gymnastics camp , with her eyes on the Olympic rings at Starlight Gymnastics in Mandarin.

Her eyes have also been on every single moment of the 2012 Olympics women's gymnastic competition. She was very confident that the women's Fab Five would take home the gold, and she takes inspiration from their victory for the USA.

"It inspires me to come in and work as hard as they did because they reached their goal, and they were working so hard to reach their goal, now I want to work real hard to reach my goal too and make the Olympics," Slappey said.

Slappey finished tenth in the all-around competition in her age group at the national championships earlier this year, fifth on the beam. Her coaches say she is the best in northeast Florida. If Slappey can score 51 on the four women's events in an international sanctioned event, she could be considered to compete in bigger international events, even the world championships and the Olympic trials.

"A couple of years ago I tried and got close, got a 49, but I have improved a lot since then, I am a lot better I think I could have a shot at it now."

Slappey says her age may work against her, she'll be 19 years old in the next Olympic year. The Fab 5 range in age from 15 to 18. Slappey says if not the Olympics, she hopes to earn a college scholarship for her gymnastics. 

Her coach Cheri Gillikin won't rule out a shot at world and Olympic competition for Slappey. She certainly will use the women's gold medal victory to inspire Slappey and the other girls she coaches.

"We do, We do, we say look, it's open to everybody, hard work, dedication, keep going , don't give up, you can do just that what they did and be a part of that gold winning team," said Gillikin.

Slappey's favorite gynmast is Allie Raismond because she is talented on the floor exercise, which is Slappey's favorite.  She was glad to see Raismond take the floor Tuesday night to wrap up the team gold title.


First Coast News

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