(WFLA) — The coronavirus pandemic pushed the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to 2021. For one gymnast, that extra year means she will have a shot at going to the games sooner than expected.
Konnor McClain has been called one of the most elite athletes in West Virginia.
“It’s really just practice. I started at a young age, so I got better as I go,” the junior elite gymnast said.
At just 15 years old, McClain is a two-time U.S. National Team Member, a two-time National Beam Champion and second All-Around Champion.
“There are 10 levels of gymnastics, and level 10 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,” McClain’s coach Susan Brown said.
Because of her age, McClain missed qualifying for the 2020 summer games by just over 30 days. Now with the postponement, her chance to compete in front of the whole world may come sooner than she thought.
“It was really an ‘oh my gosh’ moment, this is crazy, what do we do now,” McClain said.
McClain’s training has been scaled back because of the pandemic but she’s trying to stay on track for 2024. She also isn’t ruling out the chance she will make the trek to Tokyo in 2021.
“Sixteen to 17 is a really good age, so we’re slowing down to save to 2024. She really holds off, competition-wise. She has a lot more tricks in her bag, but you’ve got to be smart,” said Brown.
“My goal is an Olympic trial next year,” McClain explained. “But if I made the Olympics, it’d be a one-of-a-kind experience.”