Former Olympian helped piece together 2012 team, trains local gymnasts

Former Olympian helped piece together 2012 team, trains local gymnasts

Former Olympian helped piece together 2012 team, trains local gymnasts

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by DIANNE GALLAGHER / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianneG

WCNC.com

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 5:59 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 1 at 3:15 PM

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- Kristie Phillips has had a hand in more than a few of the Olympic Games. Hailed as the "Next Mary Lou" by Sports Illustrated in 1986, the 1988 Olympic gymnastics team member even has a move on the balance beam named after her.

She served as the Athletes' Representative for the 2008 silver-medal winning women's gymnastics team in Beijing.

Phillips was also one of the judges who helped piece together the 2012 "Golden Girls," competing in London. She is still waiting to see how many more medals this year's team will rack up.

But she doesn't just revisit her passion for gymnastics every four years for the Olympic Games. Phillips teaches aspiring young gymnasts at the Kristie Phillips Athletic Center (KPAC) studio in Statesville.

"I can honestly say I've never felt so emotionally or spiritually fulfilled as I am now doing this," gushed Phillips. "These little girls look up at me in awe, and then I yell and scream at them. But I'm really not mean. They know it is part of the training."

Phillips and her husband moved to the Lake Norman area 12 years ago to raise a family. She opened KPAC to help young girls in the Carolinas enjoy the sport she still loves.

"You never know when an Olympian will walk through that door. There could be one in here right now," said Phillips, who is also trying to teach her students about life after the dismount.

"The spotlight and the fanfare only last a year or two. Then you're just left with you, what's inside. That's why here at my studios, they are children first, athletes second," she said.

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