Below is the official list of the top 15 nominees for the 2016 International Gymnast Magazine Gymnast of the Year!
I am a 10 year old Level 9 gymnast at Texas Dreams and a member of the exclusive Dream Team. I am in 5th grade. My home is in Louisiana but my mom and I moved to Texas last August to pursue my dreams of becoming an elite gymnast. My dad and 13 year old sister, Caroline did not move here with us. My sister is a 12 year cancer survivor. She is my inspiration. In my free time, I love to play board games, swim, fish with my dad, and do crafts with my mom.
My training schedule is 7:00 am to 11:00 Monday through Friday and 7:00 to 12:00 Saturdays. My favorite event is bars. My favorite skills are triple twist on floor; tuck stand turn on beam, and Shaposhnikova on bars. Doing triples makes me feel like I'm doing the impossible and I feel like I'm flying when I do a shaposh.
Kendall started gymnastics when she was just 3.5 years old. She was in ballet and her instructor quickly pointed out that ballet was not likely in Kendall's future (since she was upside down all of the time in class). She recommended gymnastics. Based on that recommendation, we enrolled Kendall in a gymnastics after school program sponsored by Infinite Bounds. Shortly thereafter Kendall was asked to join a "pre-team". Kendall's passion for the sport grew and she learned about Kurt Thomas Gymnastics. We loved the gym and their approach to training. She joined the KT team as a Level 3 gymnast. She quickly progressed through levels 4-7 between 2013 - 2015. Kendall wasLevel 8 Texas State All Around Champion in 2015-2016. She broke her ankle December, 2016 and was unable to compete most of the 2016-2017 season but, she petitioned to compete at Regionals and after only four weeks back she was able to place 14th AA, qualifying for Westerns, and then place 8th AA at Westerns. 2017-2018 was a breakout year. Competing at Level 9, Kendall placed 1st AA in 4 of 6 regular season meets including Chows Challenge and the Biles Invitational. Plus, she won 1st AA at the Texas State Meet, 2nd AA at Regionals and 1st AA at Western National Championships for a total of 6 (of 9) 1st place AA titles.
Lauren was 3 years old when she started gymnastics, and quickly found her passion in gymnastics. During the 2008 Summer Olympics, she was glued to the TV, wearing a USA leotard, and singing the national anthem during Shawn Johnson's gold medal performance. Just a year later, she met Shawn at the 2009 Visa Championships. She began competing as a Level 4 just after she turned 6. She advanced through the JO levels each year. In 2013, she began attending the US Women's Team Developmental Camps at the Karolyi Ranch. She qualified as a HOPES elite in 2014, and attended the 2014 Secret Challenge in Chicago, where she earned 2nd place on beam. She continues to train for elite competitions, and hopes that someday she will wear the red, white and blue and compete for the United States in international competitions. When not in the gym or attending home school co-op with her friends, Lauren enjoys arts and crafts, pop music, hiking and biking outside and playing with her Bengal cat, Zeus, and Labradoodle puppy, Athena.
Lundyn Vandertoolen is a gymnast from Olympus Gymnastics in UT. She competed level 9 last year and was the state Champion. She also qualified Hopes Elite this year and took 4th at the Hopes Championships. She is the youngest of 4 girls. Lundyn loves to wear her footie pajamas in the gym. She started gymnastics at the age of 5. Lundyn has a very quite voice and a sweet personality. She loves to eat a Bacon Cheeseburger from Five Guys after her meets. She is very superstitious.
At the age of 4.5 year's old, Myli Lew was put into the Hot Shot's group and was doing 3 hours of gymnastics a week. She was slowly learning TOPs skills. At the age of 6, Myli began competing level 3 where she made the NorCal South State Team 2nd place all around. Myli made TOP's Diamond Team in 2014 and was also on the NorCal South State Champion for Level 4 placing 1st all around. After competing level 4, Myli competed one level 5 meet off season. She was the only level 5 off season gymnast to compete from her gym and won 1st place all around. Myli also made TOPs National A Team in 2015 and attended her first Developmental Invite camp in Feb '16. Myli was the NorCal South State Champion for level 7 in 2016 and represented level 7 NorCal South State Team at Regionals where she was 1st place all around. Myli has attended Developmental Camp twice so far in the later part of 2016. Myli can't wait to learn more skills. She has met a lot of great gymnasts from other gyms on my journey and loves being able to connect with them on social media since they live far away.
In her senior year before heading off to Stanford, Rachel Flam made it a season to remember with some very strong and consistent performances throughout the year. Flam finished atop the podium in the all-around on five separate occasions in 2017, including first all-around wins at state, regionals, and JO Nationals, a truly remarkable feat. Flam’s highest all-around score of the season came at the WOGA Classic with a staggering 39.275, one of the few gymnsts to even score over a 39 throughout the year. Flam is from Houston, Texas and is an incoming freshman at Stanford.