Greece/Penfield, N.Y.— It’s a Wednesday night at The Victors Gymnastics gym in Greece and the parents’ observation room is packed. Mary Kaye Mordenga, the gym’s owner, says it never used to be this full during the summer.
“I think we're surprised that we're so busy right now,” she says. “We love it.”
Mordenga and many gym owners across the U.S. credit the business to the US Women’s Gymnastics Team winning a gold medal at the London Olympic Games.
Sarah Jane Clifford, the president of The Gymnastics Training Center in Penfield, says her gym is also seeing an influx of students enrolling in classes.
“It's just been an explosion in America,” says Clifford. “We've been blessed with every little girl wanting to be the next Gabby or McKayla.”
Clifford says her gym is fielding at least 200 emails a day, and dozens of phone calls. She says she hasn’t seen this kind of interest in gymnastics since 1996 when the US Women’s Gymnastics Team won gold in Atlanta.
Amerique Wilson’s daughter Chloe just enrolled at GTC. Wilson says the Olympics are what inspired Chloe to take up gymnastics.
“Chloe became emotionally involved with the gymnasts… watching their successes and failures,” says Wilson. “As soon as someone tries a balance beam move, she would try it on the couch, on the floor and on her imaginary balance beam.”
For the Wilsons, enrolling in gymnastics is not about getting a gold medal, let alone becoming an Olympian. It’s about having fun.
“At minimum, I think she will make friends,” says Wilson. “It's an excellent exercise and she will learn something about herself.”
Both GTC and The Victors Gymnastics say they are planning to add extra classes to accommodate the all the new students.