Rio Games giving Men's Gymnastics more exposure

Published: Aug. 12, 2016 at 2:54 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2016 at 3:24 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - They've given us some of the most memorable moments in Rio, including another dominating performance Thursday. Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles are household names, but what about all the gymnasts representing Team USA?

Athletes are in a buzz at Armory Athletics in Montgomery.

"They come in every day to practice and they're fired up and they're telling me 'did you see this?', or 'that dismount was awesome' and 'they stuck it' and they're so excited so it's been a great month of practice for us," said Erik Lewis, Men's Director at Armory Athletics.

While Woman's Gymnastics continues to dominate the headlines and social media, what about the men

"Men's sport's, such as baseball, basketball, and football, are way more popular, and the girl's gymnastics, obviously in the SEC there's college gymnastics teams for girls and not many for guys," said Lewis.

Thanks in part to Rio, Lewis says his athletes are getting the recognition they deserve. According to Lewis, the Armory Men's Teams practice anywhere from 16-20 hours a week.

"It's such a tough, physical and mental, sport that everything that you do, it just seems like there's always something more the coach wants; a little bit more out of you. But man, it just makes for great kids and great young adults when they finish their careers in gymnastics and it really sets them up for the rest of their life," said Lewis.

More and more kids are dreaming of that gold medal moment.

"We started our new program on Monday and every single class has had at least two or three new kids in each one, so we've had to add some coaches and make sure we're accommodating everybody," said Lewis.

Garrett McDaniel is soaring to new heights thanks in part to the Rio Summer Games.

"You kind of slack until you see other gymnasts get better than you and then you want to get better so you can go somewhere with it," said McDaniel.

The 16-year-old says the thrill factor keeps him coming back for more and he's ready to take on the naysayers.

"I can usually do more pull-ups than they can," said McDaniel.

The high school junior hopes to balance life and gymnastics on the collegiate level and master a tricky floor exercise.

"A round-off back handspring and you do a double flip with a full and a back tuck," said McDaniel.

While he tries to stick that landing, we'll stick to just watching.

If you would like more information on the gymnastics programs at Armory Athletics, call 334-241-2787.

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