CROSS LANES, WV (WOWK) – The coronavirus caused the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed to 2021. While this may be disappointing sports fanatics around the world, it might actually give West Virginians a hometown athlete to root for.
A powerhouse athlete and a force to be reckoned with, Konnor McClain from Cross Lanes, West Virginia is arguably the states most elite athlete – wrapped up in a humble and quiet package.
“It’s really just practice. I started at a young age so I got better as I go,” McClain, a junior elite gymnast, says quietly.
But don’t let her quiet demeanor fool you…
“There are ten levels of gymnastics and level ten is really where your collegiate athletes fall into, most of them…the next level up in junior elite that Konnor is doing is such a small percentage,” Konnor’s Coach and owner of Revolution Gymnastics, Susan Brown, adds.
The 15-year old is a two-time U.S. National Team member, a two-time national beam champion and 2nd all-around champion. Konnor’s birthday fell just over 30 days too late to qualify for the 2020 Olympic games, so her goal has always been the 2024 Olympics, but now…
“Finding out I was just, like scrolling on Twitter, and I saw it and was like ‘oh my gosh is this true!’ and I found the actual article and I read it and was like ‘oh my gosh mom look!'” McClain tells 13 News.
Konnor is talking about the moment the unexpected announcement was made after the 2020 games had been postponed a year – that gymnasts who turn senior in 2021, and who are born in 2005, would now be able to compete at the 2021 games. And just like that, McClain was making headlines in the New York Times and TeamUSA.org as a new Tokyo hopeful.
“It was really an ‘oh my gosh’ moment; this is crazy what do we do now,” McClain says.
But both McClain and her coach tell 13 News they are keeping eyes on 2024, where her training route was leading her, but letting 2021 be an opportunity unexpected.
“My goal is Olympic trial next year, but if I made the Olympics it’d be a one-in-a-kind experience,” the young gymnast says.
“Sixteen/seventeen is a really really good age so we were slowing down, you understand, to save to 2024. She really holds off competition-wise she has a lot more tricks in her bag but you got to be smart,” Brown adds.
It’s a day-by-day mentality at revolution gymnastics from here on out.