DES MOINES, Iowa – Jumps, back-hand-springs, and flips were in full-force Thursday for the third day of the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympic Games. Girls – some as young as six – dressed in blue leotards represented Iowa’s athletes from gyms across the metro area.
A group of girls from a gym in Boone, IA ranged in age from seven to eleven, and a few of them say this is their second time competing in the junior-level Olympic events. While their dream would be to represent the U.S. in as little as six years on the world stage, they say even with their current experience, the competition can make you nervous.
“I get nervous and excited at the same time,” said Jacie, a nine-year-old tumbler from Boone.
“I just jump around,” added Rylee, age eleven, from the same gym.
“I just pretend that no one is watching me,” said Brenli, an eight-year-old team-member to Jacie and Rylee.
Other events today included jump-roping and kung-fu. The events continue into next week, ending on August 2nd. This is the fourth time Des Moines has hosted the games, and is scheduled to do so again in 2018 and 2023.