Flipping for First

Jenna Smith, reporter

Kira Rivers3“ I have been training since I was about 6 years old and I have been competing since I was about 8,” Kira first became interested in trampolining when her sister Kayla Rivers (‘14) began training on the sports acrobatics team.

“Unfortunately acro was cut from the training at that gym and then i began training with the T&T, trampoline and tumbling, team when she did,” Kira said.

Kira is currently training for the Olympics at Novack Gymnastics Center in Dumfries. However her training is on hold due to recent back and hip injuries. Kira sprained both of her hip flexors and has also been told she is in Phase One Spinal Degeneration.

“Right now my training is on hold. I would love to be able to compete in the 2020 Olympics,” Kira said “I was shooting for the 2016 Olympics but that was a long shot,”

On a regular schedule Kira has three hour practices four to five times a week. However, with her injuries she is out of practice and is hoping to continue practicing, training and competing by the time competition season comes back around in January.

To qualify for the Olympics, you must be a Senior elite and on the national team with good ranking and standings with USAG. USAG is a run on point- based system depending on how you place at certain competitions. “If you are a senior elite and you have good rankings then you fight for your spot on the Olympic team as you would any competition-with passion and determination,”Kira said.

If Kira is cleared to begin training again in January she will have on competition until about April but they will soon start increasing. She will begin training again as soon as she can with the hopes of making the 2020 Olympics without further injury.

“Being an elite is nice because you get to train with the Olympians at camps and competitions and ask them about their experiences. All of them are really nice and talented and teach you a lot,” Kira said. “Currently I am a junior elite and just working my way to the top like any other athlete has to do and I am trying to keep my spirits up like anyone else.”