The United States women's gymnastics team has once again earned an Olympic gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and will soon begin the journey of looking for a new team to represent the Eagles in Tokyo.
In many cases, U.S. Olympic teams are comprised of finalists and top finishers of Olympic Trail competitions within their respective sport.
The gymnastics team, however, is assembled by a three-member Olympic selection committee that makes the final decision on which athletes give team USA the best chance to bring home the gold, ultimately deciding who will make the trip to the Olympics.
Alex Carson and the Jenks Trojans Gymnastics Club have adopted these same methods to fine tune the program in order to produce Olympic caliber talent.
Carson, who has worked with the club for seven years, says though the process can be considered meticulous and heavily selective, there are many things to consider when creating a top flight gymnastics team.
“As they come up through our pre-teen programs and our lower level competitive programs we start to discern different features. We'll take certain body types. There's a lot of different criteria that we look at,” Carson said.
Many of Carson's athletes begin training at the age of five and although none have fully developed as gymnasts, there is a certain skill set Carson and his team look for in children.
The selection process, similar to that of team USA, has caused controversy leading parents to create gymnastics programs throughout the Tulsa area in order to allow all children a chance to compete.
Carson admits the selection process is difficult, but says the commitment required of a gymnast to become successful in the sport is only attainable by a handful of athletes.
“We want to make sure that when we get these kids kicked up to the fast track they don't get up to a certain level and realize they can't keep up,” Carson said.
As of now, Carson is preparing his team for upcoming meets and competitions, but plans to remain putting a long term program in place to become one of the best clubs in the country.
“The way that our system works, with everybody teaching each other and the culture of respect, it's just so much better to have a home grown kid, Carson said.
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