Young gymnasts transition into U.S. aerial ski jumpers


LAKE PLACID, New York – The way elite athletes get their start in these sports can sometimes be a little strange. For example. the three Vermont gymnasts who last summer were plucked from the parallel bars and dropped on the slopes.

When we last saw Green Mountain gymnasts Tyra Izor, Kira Tanghe and Megan Nick they were still just gymnasts awaiting news from the U.S. Aerial Ski Team, hoping to be chosen to join the development program. Now since that mid-July meeting, their lives have changed dramatically.

Tyra Izor says the three young women decided they couldn’t say no to this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“The people I’ve met and the experience and memories we’ve made, I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to turn down that opportunity,” says Megan Nick, member of the U.S. Elite Aerial Development Ski Program. 

Teammate Kira Tanghe says she’s now focusing on one sport.

“I moved away for it,” Tanghe says. “So, it’s really different but I like it a lot.”

The trio relocated to Lake Placid, New York for a couple of weeks at a time to practice at the jump pool for the rest of the summer and fall before moving to Park City, Utah in November for a month to join the U.S. National Team and try out what they’ve learned in the snow.

They’re no longer full-time students at their old schools. In fact, with Team USA they’ve almost become more athlete-students instead of student-athletes. The young athletes say the roles have certainly flipped. They now train for six hours a day and go to school for about three hours. It’s definitely a new way to learn English and history, but they’re also learning a whole new language about their new sport.

And they’re learning together. Three Green Mountain gymnasts with big dreams.

Story reported by Mike Curkov.

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