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Bozhi's Gym Nest hosts Winter Olympics

Feb. 17, 2013 @ 10:47 PM

HUNTINGTON -- It may not be showing in prime time at your house, but in Brian and Melissa Massey's world, the U.S. women's gymnastic team's gold medal winning performance at the Summer Olympics in London is still some must-see TV.

Daughter Lainey Massey, 3, got hooked on the sport of gymnastics watching "the fierce five" back in the summer. On Sunday, she got to show off her own tumbling moves as one of more than 120 students who participated in Bozhi's Gym Nest's 16th annual Winter Olympics showcase.

Armed with cameras and cell phones shooting video, hundreds of parents and grandparents packed into the colorful Green Valley Road gym for the display that included routines from kids as young as 3 up to the gym's teen elite level students that include the Gym Nest's competitive squads in gymnastics and cheerleading.

"She saw the Olympics and just watched it over and over, and we still have it on DVR -- that's not getting erased," Brian said with a laugh. "She came down here and really loved it and has had a lot of fun doing it."

Hrabrina Spencer competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She has helped her father, 1962 Bulgarian national champion gymnast Bozhida Russev, run Bozhi's Gym Nest. She said the popularity of last summer's Olympics has led to a record number of enrollment at the gym located near Hite-Saunders Elementary School.

Spencer said they keep the spirit of the Olympics at the annual event, which she equated to a dance studio's yearly recital. On Sunday, kids performed with soundtrack music, then after the performance made their way to the podium to receive their class trophy and small gifts, such as a stuffed animal, for their hard work.

"They get scored by the judges, who are very relaxed, so everybody gets third place or above," Spencer said. "They get to feel that joy of standing up on the podium, and the parents get to see them performing in front of a crowd.

Jordan Adkins, 17, is one of the dozen or so instructors at Bozhi's, where 2009 world vault champion Kayla Williams trained for 10 years. Adkins, who has been a gymnast for 11 years, said she loved being there Sunday watching her students who range in age from toddlers to 10-year-olds.

"I like gymnastics, and I like teaching. That's my passion, and they are all so cute," Adkins said watching the toddlers tumbling and going through their routines.

Spencer said they teach students as young as 18 months and up in the rigors of gymnastics, which she calls the toughest competitive sport.

Even if a student doesn't take it competitive levels, Spencer said gymnastics is still a great sport for youth to learn, as it teaches so much to students about concentration, body awareness, balance, agility and the ability to overcome fears by doing apparatus work such as the uneven bars and balance beam.

"Gymnasts are the most conditioned athletes, and it gives every child starting out the ability, I believe, to be good at any other sport," Spencer said.

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