On the heels of a national competition, Flip-Flops and Fitness gymnasts are ready for an exhibition and charitable fundraiser Saturday.
On Saturday, July 13, Flip-Flops & Fitness in Harrisburg will be hosting an event to raise awareness of and funds for the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn. This will be the gym's second annual fund-raiser for St. Jude's and the athletes are hoping to surpass the amount they raised last year which was $2,700.
The athletes have been going to area businesses to collect donations and sponsorships for the event. Sponsors have the option of giving a flat rate donation or opting to give an amount of their choice per flip-flop that the participant will perform. Last year the athletes completed over 4,400 flip-flops in two hours.
They are hoping to surpass that total this year.
The gym welcomes spectators to observe this event. It will be offering refreshments. The event will take place 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Flip-Flops & Fitness facility located at 601 W. Poplar St.
The 2013 United States Trampoline and Tumbling Association National competitions were held June 19 through June 22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. There were over 30 teams there representing their gyms and states. In order to participate at the national competition athletes had to first qualify at their state competition. An athlete had to attain top ten ranking in the state to quality for Nationals. The state competition was held in April at Highland. Flip-Flops & Fitness had several athletes qualify for Nationals at the State competition, however due to the travel expense, several athletes were unable to attend. The gym had 14 athletes represent it at this year's National Competition. Next year the 2014 Nationals will be held in Louisville, Ky. and Whiting and her athletes are really looking forward to the event.
Flip-Flop's USTA national placements included:
Davyn Aud – 4th place on Floor, 5th place on Double-Mini and 7th place on Trampoline
Aniyah Crittendon – 6th place on Double-Mini and 10th place on Trampoline
Jordan Russell – 7th place on Double-Mini and 8th place on Trampoline
Madison Kingston – 8th place on Floor
Taylor Holmes – 9th place on Floor, 11th on Trampoline, 27th place on Elite Double-Mini and 28th place on Advanced Double-Mini
Kylah Parkhill – 9th place on Double-Mini and 9th place on Trampoline
Jaycee Pritchett – 9th place on Trampoline and 10th place on Double-Mini
Andrea Stricklin – 11th place on Double-Mini and 15th place on Trampoline
Taylor Gass – 11th place on Floor
Jada Burnett – 11th place on Trampoline and 16th place on Double-Mini
Adriana Armstrong – 18th place on Floor and 25th place on Double-Mini
Bryleigh Buchanan – 19th place on Floor
Page 2 of 2 - Kaci Bayne – 22nd place on Trampoline, 25th place on Floor and 27th place on Double-Mini
Jimma Gass – 23rd place on Trampoline
Kathy Bailey opened Flip-Flops & Fitness March 1984 in Carrier Mills. The facility was later moved to Harrisburg.
The gym began as an artistic gymnastics instruction facility, where students would learn routines and skills on various pieces of equipment which included the bars, beam, vault, and floor.
The United States Trampoline and Tumbling Association (USTA) and the sport of power tumbling began to gain popularity. Noting this trend, the gym became a training facility for the sport and started to participate in USTA sanctioned competition events.
In Jan. 1996, the gym began to focus solely on power tumbling and its athletes participated in competitions sanctioned by both the USTA and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
In Aug. 2010, Katie Whiting purchased the facility from Alexa (Sutton) Hortin. Whiting is the niece of the original owner, Kathy Bailey. Whiting was a participant in several competitions and has been a coach at the gym since she was 14 years old. She hopes to carry on the legacy set before her.
Whiting said, "We hope to be a blessing to each and every kid who comes to our facility for years to come. We thank all who have supported Flip-Flops & Fitness throughout the years as well as the good Lord above who has blessed this facility."
The USTA, United States Trampoline & Tumbling Association, is over 30 years old. It was founded in 1971 by Larry Griswold and George Nissen (the inventor of the trampoline). The USTA started with only about 200 members who competed in tumbling, trampoline, and double-mini trampoline. It offered only one division of competition. Now it is divided into nine divisions for tumbling and six divisions for the double-mini and the trampoline. The first Nationals had approximately 250 athletes but now the Nationals have almost 2200 athletes in 5000 events. The USTA announced it will give out over $2,000 worth of scholarships to graduating seniors or to athletes that are still competing and continuing their education.