CHANDLER, Ariz. — An Olympic gold medalist who was part of the world-famous Magnificent Seven USA Women’s Gymnastics Team at the Atlanta games now manages her own gym in the Valley.
Amanda Borden is taking the grit and determination she gained as a young athlete to inspire up-and-coming gymnasts. She coaches the athletes through a sport she fell into as a kid.
“The minute I tried it, I fell in love with it," Borden said. "I didn’t know I was going to be a competitive gymnast. I didn’t know I was going to make it to the Olympics. Looking back, I would do it all again.”
The 1996 Olympic gold medalist now has a family of her own and trains dozens of competitive gymnasts in Tempe and at their expanding location, Gold Medal Gymnastics, in Chandler.
“I feel really fortunate that I had an incredible elite gymnastics career, so when starting my gym, I was really excited about just giving kids the opportunity to do the sport I love," Borden said.
For 17 years, Borden and her crew of coaches have been leading Valley athletes on the bars, beam and floor, flipping through the tough sport.
“As coaches in any sport, we have the opportunity to impact our next generation and really inspire them to be great people, whatever that might be,” she said.
Gymnasts at Gold Medal can train both recreationally and competitively.
“We feel like we’re a program for everybody," Borden said.
She draws from her experience as team captain of the unforgettable Magnificent Seven at the Atlanta games. Remember, Kerri Strug’s incredible vault after injuring her ankle, to clinch the first U.S. women’s gymnastics team to win Olympic gold, 25 years ago.
“Looking back now and sometimes it feels like a different lifetime," Borden said.
Yes, a lot has changed, but the inspiring win and perseverance seen around the world at those 1996 games are still unforgettable.
“I was honored to be a part of an incredible team, girls that I had looked up to that were role models of mine, now we’re friends," Borden said. "We still stay in touch and try to get together as much as possible.”
Now, Borden calls on different faces to guest coach, like UCLA superstar gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, who went viral on Youtube with her jaw dropping floor routine, and Sam Peszek, a member of the 2008 Olympic team.
“We try to bring in current athletes who are the heroes to all of these kids,” she said.
It's inspiration from different generations of star athletes.
“It’s been a dream come true for me as an adult and I think that’s a great thing for all of us adults to remember, is we can have dreams and they can still come true," Borden said.
No matter what the age or goal at Gold Medal, the same grit, passion and determination are required.
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