Young Union County gymnasts gather to support Biles, Olympic team

Union County

PLAIN CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — Young gymnasts in Ohio are celebrating the U.S. gymnastics teams Tuesday night re-watching the latest events from the Olympics in Tokyo.

Attendees at a watch party at Integrity Athletics are big Simone Biles fans and were looking forward to seeing her perform on the Olympic stage.

Despite only seeing Biles on the sidelines, everyone said they understood her decision to withdraw from competition Tuesday and support everyone on Team USA.

The facility flipped from a training center into a theater, all for the love of gymnastics.

“She had good sportsmanship!” said gymnast Sayako Okabe of Biles.

Gymnast Cristina Anzalota weighed in, saying, “I think she supported all her teammates and it just made them feel more confident that she was still there.”

Integrity Athletics Executive Director Kristy Birchak, who helped organize the watch party, said it was a valuable lesson for her students.

“You know, maybe it’s not your best day, but you’re there for your team, you’re there to support and you’re there lifting everybody else up and that’s 100 percent what Simone did,” Birchak said.

Birchak said gymnastics is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.

They’re all proud of the silver the women’s team earned.

“Amazing to watch all of the girls today pull through, come together as a team,” Birchak said. “They’re great role models. All of our kids love watching the Olympics, they love watching nationals, they love watching worlds.”

Abby Eiferman said it was exciting to see gymnasts Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, and Grace McCallum give Tuesday’s competition their all.

To see the young athletes out there, first-time Olympians, that was amazing and the pressure they had on them since Simone wasn’t competing, that was really cool,” Eiferman said.

And seeing what could be possible for them one day.

“A boost of confidence, like, what they do, maybe we’ll be able to do someday,” Anzalota said.

Birchak said this watch party was a special moment for all of the kids in the gym. Not only was it about supporting the Olympic team, but it was also a chance for them all to get together for some fun after a stressful year with coronavirus.

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