Minnetonka Gymnastics Team Carries High Hopes into 2018 Season

Sabina Marty, Staff Writer

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When thinking of team and individual sports, what examples come to mind? In basketball, the team works together to get the ball in the hoop. In soccer, you pass the ball to your teammates with the hope of getting it past the goalie. In football, the offensive line clears the way for the running back in order to get a touchdown. But in individual sports, players have to depend on their own talent and skill to win. In wrestling, the person who has the best tactics to get the other person on the ground first wins. In track, the fastest and those with the most endurance or agility get the medal. Golfers win the trophy or title if they are the best at knowing where and how to hit the ball to get it in the hole. Arguably, any of the individual sports could be team sports, if each athletes’ combined efforts win a shared medal or trophy. But what about gymnastics?  Those who watched the  2016 Olympics have probably heard of the all-star gymnast, Simone Biles. Individually, she won three gold medals in different events at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But when she competed in a team with four other American gymnasts, such as the famous Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, together, they won the gold medal in the all-around team

competition as the Final Five.  Whether the gymnasts competed individually or as a team, they all won their medals for team U.S.A., which is why America came in first place for total amount of gold medals won at the 2016 Olympics. Each gymnast used their own individual talents for the team as a whole, and in the end, that makes the team much more successful overall. The same can be said for high school gymnastics. Last season, Emily Schulenberg, 18, of the Minnetonka girls gymnastics team, qualified for state on bars and beam individually.  Even though she was honored that she got this opportunity, “going to state with [her] team was much more fun. Each gymnast tries to do well in sections not to win for themselves but in order to help the team get to finals.”  The gymnastics team also qualified for the state team competition last season and finished in 8th place. However, winning the state meet is not what is most important for head coach Christine Myers.  Myers believes it comes down to “discovering each individual gymnast’s gifts” and then bringing

those gifts together to make a team. She “doesn’t care that much if [the team] wins or loses a meet”, because “working towards [the] team’s goal for greatness” is what matters most. Even though every athlete hopes to achieve individual medals, titles, or fame, it is nothing without a team or family to share it with. The same is true for gymnastics. Even though each gymnast has the fantasy of winning an individual state title, many would rather be competing with their team. When all of the gymnasts put their own talents, skills and desire for greatness into the combined effort of a team, something unstoppable is created. No matter if the team wins the state title or Olympic gold medal, it was all worth it in the end just be to be a part of something greater.

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