KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Simone Biles is hoping to clinch her sixth U.S. all-around title in Kansas City during the 2019 U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
KCTV5 News caught up with her after the first day of the women’s competition.
Fans watched three local athletes compete for national team berths and national titles.
Gymnasts from around the Kansas City metro came to not only see Simone Biles, but also three local gymnasts who are making a name for themselves.
Twelve-year-old twins Malea and Annalisa Milton are already training about 32 hours a week to follow in the footsteps of their teammates Kara Eaker of Grain Valley, Aleah Finnegan of Lee's Summit, and Leanne Wong of Overland Park. They all train at the GAGE Center in Blue Springs.
“Kara is very sharp, Aleah is very happy and bubbly, and Leanne -- her floor routine is amazing,” Malea Milton said.
The aspiring Olympians came to cheer and learn.
“They are amazing,” Malea Milton said. “I look up to them all the time. Hopefully, if we keep working hard, we get there someday.”
It is rare to have three gymnasts who train at the same gym compete in the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
“That is incredibly rare actually,” said Tom Forster, USA Women’s High-Performance Team Coordinator. “They’ve proven they are a real integral part of our national team and the success we are having.”
Their coach, Al Fong, said he is proud and plans to keep improving.
“I thought Kansas City was the perfect place to open up a facility that would perpetuate Olympic gymnastics and win medals for the United States,” he said. “It’s been a journey.”
The Milton twins hope to be competing in the same competition they are watching from the stands. Their ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympics.
“Yes, that is our goal: 2024,” they said.
As of Friday night, Simone Biles was comfortably in first place. Leanne Wong of Overland Park is tied for 5th.
The women’s competition continues this Sunday, and the men’s final day of competition is tomorrow.