State Games of America unforgettable for GR Gymnastics

GR Gymnastics team is all smiles showing off their medals.

The 2017 State Games of America in Grand Rapids was Grand Rapids Gymnastics’ first State Games experience – and what an experience!

The State Games committee, West Michigan Sports Commission and volunteers did an excellent job representing our city and creating an environment for both competition and fun!  Our girls, ranging from 8 to 14 years of age, had smiles on their faces the entire time.

When asked their favorite part of the State Games, our gymnasts had many different answers.  Below are a few highlights of our experience, not just from our athletes, but our volunteers and coaches as well:

  • The GR Gymnastics team gets ready to process into Van Andel Arena for the Opening Ceremony.Opening Ceremony fanfare– While most of our girls could not name just one favorite experience, rising to the top of the list was the Opening Ceremony.  Our gymnasts had never experienced anything like it.  After watching their idols, the “Final Five,” (U.S. women’s gymnastics team at Rio) walk in at last year’s Olympics, they’ve all imagined making those same steps into an arena with fans cheering them on.   The experience was overwhelming, especially being the host state.  They are still talking about the experience and what it felt like to be part of it.  
  • Competing side-by-side with athletes in other sports – The gymnasts loved competing in the same venue as other sports.  It was exciting to have karate, wrestling, BMX, table tennis and others all in the same space.   Gymnasts know the importance of hard work and dedication to a sport, and seeing other kids outside of gymnastics putting in the time and effort and getting results is something they don’t normally experience.   Seeing other athletes working just as hard will only help them in their sport.
  • Hosting gymnasts from across the country – Our volunteers loved being able to host 18 different gymnastics gyms from all over the United States.  Grand Rapids Gymnastics hosts an annual meet in December, Gymnastics on the Grand, where we welcome 2,400 gymnasts.  Gymnasts from other states attend, but never as far as South Carolina and Texas like at the State Games of America.  It was wonderful to welcome them to our city and show them how we do things in this region of the country. We also received many comments from the other teams that the Gymnastics meet was well run.  And they were impressed at the hospitality of Grand Rapids Gymnastics and of Grand Rapids in general.
  • Celebrating fitness and health – Our coaches especially enjoyed the variety of fitness competitions the State Games brought to the downtown area, expressing that it was great to see people come together for a positive, healthy event.

    A gymnast stands by the welcome sign to all teams

Overall, the State Games of America was a positive, fun experience for all of our Grand Rapids Gymnastics family.  We were honored to be part of such a great event and look forward to catching up with the teams and gymnasts we met at other State Games over the course of our season!

Kathleen Wright, CMP, CTA
Guest Blogger
Kathleen is president of the Grand Rapids Gymnastics Booster Club and recently served as the Gymnastics sport director/meet coordinator for the 2017 State Games of America.

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