Former, current gymnastic stars dazzle in ‘Tour of Champions’

by NICK ALVARADO//Sports Editor

After watching them compete at the Summer Olympics, fans got the opportunity to see the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Gymnastics teams up close in the Kellog’s Tour of Champions.

Some big names, including Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez, along with former Olympic gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, made appearances in the event that took place on Oct. 6 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.

Other athletes who participated in the fan-friendly event were Monica and Jennifer Rokhman of the rhythmic gymnastics team, 2012 Olympic team member Jordyn Weiber, American hopefuls and Olympic team alternate Makayla Skinner and Ashton Locklear, Olympic trampoline participants Logan Dooley and Nicole Ahsinger, Olympic acrobatic gymnasts Axel Osbourn and Tiffani Williams and NCAA men’s gymnastic champion, C.J. Maestas.

Due to other commitments, not all of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team members took part in the event, and some vary from each stop the tour makes.

As the event started, a video played with the athlete’s story of how the experience at the Summer Olympics in Rio was not only about the competition, but about the Olympics as a whole.

After the video, trampolinists Dooley and Ashinger kicked off the event with local gymnasts and coaches sharing the floor with the Olympians.

As the local gymnasts cleared the floor, the energy level rose.

The U.S. Men’s Gymncastics team of Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton, Alex Naddour, Chris Brooks and Danell Leyva made their appearance. Three members of the Olympic team, Brooks, Dalton and Naddour, went to Oklahoma University, a heavyweight team in gymnastics.

As a whole, the men’s team placed fifth in Rio, behind medalists Japan, Russia and China. After the team performance, the individuals had one thing to compete for, country pride.

Leyva won the silver medal in the horizontal bar, parallel bars and high bars, while Naddour took home the bronze in pommel horse.

After the men made their appearance, Monica and Jennifer Rokhman took the floor to feature their skills with the ribbon. After the Rokhman sisters performed, the stars of the event came out.

Raisman, Hernandez and Biles came out, followed by Wieber, Skinner and Locklear. Gold medalists Raisman and Biles performed their Olympic routine, which received heavy applause and no competitive pressure.

After every athlete got the chance to come out, there was a short intermission before the second segment started.

The next segment featured the talented athletes, but with a twist. The uneven bars lit up while electronic music was playing in the background. The routines had a more energetic feel, and there were some surprise appearances. Johnson and Liukin made their first appearance in a choreographed skit mixed with tumbling moves.

The tour continues to go across the nation with stops in Chicago, Ill., Indianapolis, Ind., Cincinnati, Ohio., and more cities along the East Coast. The final stop will be in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 13.

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