Kansas City – And Its Gymnasts – Shine at the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championships

We all knew that the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championship was going to be exciting when it came to Kansas City a few weeks ago, but did any of us really expect what occurred?

First of all, the event has gone down in history as the most attended staging of the competition in its history. In total 33,894 visitors attended all the events, providing a big boost for gymnastics in our area as well as for our area in general.

While there were some astonishing performances all round, the ones that will probably be best remembered – and have already gone down in history – are Simone Biles’. On her way to her sixth national all-around title Simone pulled off some things that only existed in theory before, including that stunning triple double that many feel – including a lot of her rivals – has changed the face of women’s gymnastics forever.

Need to see that again? We can do that (because we really can’t stop watching this anyway)

Here’s the big question that everyone had; just HOW did she do it? Only one person had ever tried before and that person was, well, Simone Biles. Wired Magazine enlisted the help of a physicist to explain it, and his piece sums it up well, equations and all. It’s this, for those of you who like such things:

But science aside, what did Simone’s achievements here in our area mean for gymnastics – and young gymnasts, in general?

One of the great things about her performance, and all the worldwide attention it gathered, is that it showed gymnastics in a very positive light again when things surrounding US gymnastics had been so dark for months. And it gave hope to all the female gymnasts out there that thought they perhaps did not fit the ‘mold’ of a champion gymnast.

Simone Biles hasn’t had an easy life, and she’s overcome a lot of hurdles in her 22 years. But for a lot of the girls who were watching her do the impossible, both from the sidelines and the seats, she is the ultimate inspiration and proof that hard work and determination go a long, long way in gymnastics and in life.

For locals, there was even more to celebrate too. After the competition was over, Kansas City gymnasts Leanne Wong and Kara Eaker were named to the Senior Women’s National Team, swelling our Kansas City pride.

Leanne Wong (in action above at the championship) is, of course, from Overland Park. She’s 15 and a sophomore at Blue Valley High, but many of you probably know that. And while she may not be a household name just yet, in the way that Simone Biles is, it’s coming, especially with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo now less than 12 months away. So we can all get ready to cheer her on again as she represents our area and its passion for gymnastics in the months and years ahead.