Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features >  Washington Voices

Practice pays off in medals for 8-year-old gymnast

Oklahoma City meet results in bronze and silver

Lots of people have rugs or carpet on their living room floor. Not Brandon and Deyla Tanner – they have an exercise mat.

The reason? Their 8-year-old daughter Trinity is prone to doing impromptu flips and handsprings throughout the house. “I like flipping,” she said.

And she’s good at it. In February, she took the bronze medal in the all-around and the silver medal on bars in her age group and level at the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational in Oklahoma City. About 1,300 gymnasts participated in the event.

Trinity, who’ll start third grade at Meadow Ridge Elementary next month, trains at Dynamic Gymnastics in north Spokane. The gym is one of a handful in the state that participates in a USA Gymnastics sanctioned program called TOPs, or Talent Opportunity Program. TOPs was developed by USAG as an alternative to the Junior Olympics program, casting a broader net for developing and identifying national talent for girls ages 7 to 10. Several other members of the TOPS team from Dynamic competed at the invitational, as well.

Adana Harris, a coach at Dynamicsaid, “Out of 100 team kids, we only have eight that are part of the TOPS program.”

The time commitment can be daunting. In addition to the regular workout routines, TOPS kids put in six hours of strength training.

Trinity started gymnastics at age 2 with a Mommy and Me class. “She also tried dance and soccer, but gymnastics was the only thing that stuck,” Deyla Tanner said.

Shortly after the February event, Trinity suffered an injury at a meet in Coeur d’Alene. “She tore her quad and was out for three months. She couldn’t even play at recess,” Tanner said.

“It was really, really hard,” Trinity said. “I missed my friends, my coaches and gymnastics.”

But the time off to heal paid off. She is back at the gym and making up for lost time. Tanner said, “She works out 18 1/2 hours a week, plus she always wants to come to open gym on Saturdays. I think she loves it even more now – she appreciates it.”

Indeed, on a recent afternoon, Trinity moved from uneven bars, to the balance beam, to tumbling with scarcely a break. “The bars are my favorite because they’re difficult and challenging,” she said. “But I really like the floor, too.”

She embarked on a series of back handsprings. “The most I’ve done in a row is nine,” she said. When asked if she gets dizzy, she nodded. “Yes!”

As she works to regain some of the flexibility she lost during her injury, her focus and enthusiasm remain clear. “Gymnastics is fun for me. And I want to be in the Olympics.”