Below is the official list of the top 35 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.
I am a native Californian, living my whole life in Los Angeles near the beach. Being the middle child of 3 kids, makes me more independent and competitive at whatever I do! I love swimming and hanging out with my friends and family. My teachers say I am the sweetest, most focused student and love having me in class. I started pre-team in gymnastics when I was 4 years old and haven't looked back, even though I am still one of the smallest girls in my Level 8 Group, don't let my size deceive you! Training 20+ hours a week is fun...everyday I work harder than the last.
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.
I am Elizabeth Gantner and I am 12 years old from Indianapolis, Indiana. I train at JPAC with my coaches, Dave Marus and Jaycie Phelps and I hope to qualify Junior Elite in 2018. After an amazing level 8 season in 2016, my coaches and I decided I would compete level 10 and try to qualify Hopes in 2017. Early in the year, I competed one meet at level 9 and achieved my elite compulsory score before competing my first level 10 meet at Metroplex in Texas. In February, I made my Hopes Optional score at the Brestyans Qualifier in Las Vegas. In my second ever level 10 all around meet in Orlando, I went 4 for 4 and qualified to the Nastia Liukin Cup with a 38.175. I followed that with another 38+ all around at our own JPAC Midwest Showdown. I had an amazing time at the Nastia Cup even though it wasn't my best meet. I went on to States, Regionals, and JO Nationals where I was State and Regional beam champion and finished third on beam at JO Nationals. I am thankful for all of the support from my family, my coaches and my teammates and look forward to 2018.
Emma is 12 years old and in the 7th grade. She is training level 10 at Azarian Gymnastics. She competed level 9 last year in addition to qualifying HOPES. She had a great level 9 season qualifying to Region 1 Westerns Championships where she placed 2AA while also winning both Beam and Bars. She also qualified both compulsory and optionals at the Desert Lights Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately due to an injury she was unable to attend the Hopes Classic. Thank you for nominating me in the Top 100 for Gymnast of the Year!
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.
Madison Raesly-Patton was born on July 17, 2004 to Amanda and Shea Patton. Madison began gymnastics at the age of 9 when she took an introductory class at WOGA Frisco. On the second day of practice, Madison was moved up to the intermediate level, and by the third day she was moved up to the advanced level. By January 2014 at age 9, Madison competed one meet of level 3 in the TAAF program with Iarov Elite Gymnastics. After one meet of level 3, Madison moved up to level 4. In the Fall 2014 season, Madison competed level 5 and in the Spring of 2015, she competed one level 6 meet. In 2016, Madison competed one meet of level 7 at the Texas Prime Meet where she placed second on vault and third on floor. After the Texas Prime Meet, Madison moved up to level 8 and at her first level 8 meet, the Metroplex Challenge, Madison won the beam title with a 9.625 and placed third all around. At the 2016 Texas Level 8 State Championships, Madison finished 10th all around and qualified to regionals. Madison had her best meet of the season at the Region 3 Championships scoring a 9.700 on beam to take the beam title and taking home the bronze medal in the all around with a 38.050. Following the 2016 level 8 season, Madison began training with Texas Dreams. Madison began instantly improving, and at her first meet as a level 9, Madison won the beam title with a 9.725 and won the all around with a 37.775. Madison continued to have a solid season and at the Texas State Championships, Madison won the bars, beam, floor, and all around titles. Following her success, Madison competed at the Region 3 Championships and made the Region 3 Junior 3 Western National Championships Team. Madison had the meet of her life at Westerns; she won all four events and took home the all around gold with a 38.600. Madison became the first gymnast in history to win all five gold medals at Westerns and had the highest all around score out of all gymnasts at both Easterns and Westerns. Currently, Madison trains 32 hours per week at Texas Dreams Gymnastics under coaches Alicia Goodwin, Marcus Harlin, Kim Zmeskal-Burdette, and Chris Burdette. Madison is preparing for the 2018 season where she hopes to qualify elite. In the future, Madison hopes to earn a spot on the US National Team.
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.
My name is Skyelar Noel Kerico. I am 10 years old. I live in Toms River, New Jersey. I am in 4th grade and I am homeschooled at my gym. I go to MG Elite and my coach is Victoria Levine. I travel about an hour every day to get to the gym. My favorite color is lime green. I have 1 younger brother named Zack. I have 2 dogs named Mushroom & Rella. When I am not at the gym, my favorite thing to do is swim in the pool. My second favorite event is beam. I love gymnastics!
My name is Tory Layne Vetter, and I am 13 years old. I live with my mom and dad, my brother Mitch, my sister Tessa and my dog Teddy in Hilliard Ohio. We have a big yard with a trampoline and I try to jump on it every day. I first started in gymnastics when I was 4 in a little kid class. I was also a cheerleader for my brother’s football team right after that. It was fun, but what I liked the best were the cartwheels and splits we were allowed to do during the game to show our spirit. When my mom asked me if I wanted to cheer for basketball or take another a gymnastics class, I was so excited, I chose gymnastics!!
My mom put me in recreational gymnastics with my younger brother when I was about 4.5 years old. The teachers asked my mom if I would be interested in doing team gymnastics and I of course said yes. I have been competing ever since I was 5 years old. I also started to homeschool in fourth grade after qualifying to the TOPS A team two years in a row.