WEDDINGTON, N.C. -- Like a tiny ball of limitless energy, 7-year-old Jade Doheny, tumbled and twisted and stuck all of her landings at an afternoon practice at the Southeastern Gymnastics center in Weddington.
Jade has been doing this for 13 hours a week since she was three years old.
“That was amazing! Gorgeous! Tall hips, chin up,” shouted one of her private coaches affectionately known as Coach Sofia.
Jade’s persistence and drive even earned her a gold medal for Best All-Around Gymnast at the 2012 Ozone International competition. Her next goal? A medal somewhere else.
“I just have to work really, really hard to get to the Olympics,” she said.
She’s already come a long way since her days at the orphanage for older kids and those with special medical needs in China.
“We adopted her when she was two years old. She came to us as an intelligent and wonderful, talented child,” said her mother, Cathy Doheny.
The little gymnast even requested all the gifts for her eighth birthday party be donated back to the orphanage where she came from.
“She says she has all she needs. A family, a home, and dogs,” added Doheny.
It’s that sheer determination and focus that helped earn Jade a top 10 finalist spot in the Downy Little Champions Contest. Beating out hundreds of entrants, it is Jade’s chance at an all-expenses paid trip to the Olympics in London.
“I’ve never been to the Olympics and I want to,” said Jade.
Perhaps she can go this year as a spectator and one day as a competing athlete.
Voting ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13. To vote, head to the Downy Facebook page here.