Local gymnast loses training facility due to COVID

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 11:33 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gymnastics is one of the hardest sports physically and mentally and it has been extra challenging this year for one local gymnast.

It was really tough on West Branch Gymnast Olivia Poppen, who was training with Iowa Gymnastics Academy in Iowa City. Twisters Gymnatics in Cedar Rapids and coach John Mangold came to the rescue and took Olivia in after her normal facility closed due to COVID-19.

“Every coach is a different coaching style but I’ve been able to adjust to it.,” Poppen said. “I like it here, we’re very thankful John let us come practice here.”

Olivia is a senior in high school and this her final year of competing in age group gymnastics.

“I feel bad for all the seniors,” said coach John Mangold. “I mean they pretty much did the whole season not even if they were going to be able to compete because at that point we didn’t have competitions.”

Olivia will compete in the Regional Championships this weekend with hopes of advancing nationals. It’s been a crazy ride for Poppen, who goes to school then commutes to Cedar Rapids for practice while still maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

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