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Carmel Valley gymnast earns Elite title

CARMEL VALLEY — Carmel Valley resident and Canyon Crest Academy freshman, Andria Gao has just joined the rank of the National Elite Rhythmic Gymnasts. At the 2012 USA Gymnastics Championship in San Jose at the end of June, Gao finished in 12th place all around in junior level. Her SoCal rhythmic club is now among the top five clubs in the U.S. 

This has been an unusual comeback for Gao, who had suffered a back injury not long ago. Working closely with her coach and her sports doctor, Gao has recovered and returned back to her regular 15-hours-weekly training schedule She also took additional ballet practice at a local studio to improve her dance movement and music coordination.

“At the beginning of this competition season, Gao wasn’t doing well,” her mother Jenny Gao said. “Her routine elements were not completed successfully, her rhythm had been off and the movements that used to be easy were now difficult. Nevertheless, she persevered, fending off frustrations and discouragement.” As the season progressed, her performance gradually picked up and improved.

Towards the end of the season, she was able to best her own record and ranked 13th place in Level 10 junior at 2012 Junior Olympic and National Qualifier for USA Rhythmic Gymnastics in Orlando, Florida, in early June.

Being part of the Elite team is a dream come true for Gao, who started training for rhythmic gymnastics at age 5. Now the 2012 season is over, Gao is taking a break but is looking forward to starting the new season in September with her teammates in the SoCal Rhythmics club.

Rhythmic gymnastics is an Olympic sport that incorporates dance, ballet, and gymnastics. It is the blend of art and athleticism, which encourages creativity and flexibility. The SoCal Rhythmics club has recreational program in addition to the competitive team and is always looking for enthusiastic new gymnasts. No experience needed. Classes for beginners are on Mondays and Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m. at Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas. Summer camp is available. Visit for more information.


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