SAUK RAPIDS -- Balance, flexibility and strength, combine all three and you have gymnastics.

Michelle Monroe is the head team coach at North Crest Gymnastics in Sauk Rapids, she says kids strive to do their best while in the sport.

"It's a very hard sport, especially competitively it takes a lot of dedication, we have 7 and 8-year-olds that are in the gym 10-12 hours a week and that's for a kid," says Monroe.

Twelve-year-old gymnast, Selah Christiansen says she's developed a love for the sport and plans to join her high school team in the coming years.

"I love flipping around, even in the house, I like the coaches a lot too they help encourage me and my friends," says Christiansen.

North Crest offers a variety of classes for all ages.

"We have our parent taught which starts at 18 months where you are in the gym with your parent and then we have all the way through what is called our HIT class which is our high school off season training for those high school gymnasts," says Monroe.


Some choose to do the sport as a hobby others take it more seriously.

"Our competitive programs, we have boys and girls that start competing at age six and our oldest one on team right now is seventeen."

Gymnastics events are different for boys and girls.

For girls there is uneven bars, floor, vault and beam. At North Crest they have all the boys events as well since they do have a competitive boys team.

Boys events include the pommel horse, parallel bars, still rings, horizontal bars, vault and floor. Although events stay the same throughout the different competing levels, scoring changes.

"We have our basic 10.0 start values, which is what most people are used to, where they start with a 10.0 and deduct."

Once a gymnast makes it to the Olympics scoring gets more difficult.

"They have their 10.0 start but that's only execution and then they have a difficulty score based on how hard their routine is and then they combine those two scores. So you'll scores anywhere from 11-16."

Regardless the level a gymnast reaches they will still learn life lessons in the sport.

"You have to have a work ethic, you learn perseverance, you learn time management, you have to be dedicated, so it really teaches kids what they need for when they grow up."

USA Olympian Simone Biles has won four gold medals in Rio. She had a score of 15.966 for her floor exercise routine.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON
Chrissy Gaetke, WJON


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