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Downtown hosts gymnastics invitational
The largest gymnastics competition in the state will take place in Grand Rapids this weekend, with more than 2,200 gymnasts competing.
Grand Rapids Gymnastics is hosting the sixth-annual Gymnastics on the Grand competition this Friday through Sunday at DeVos Place.
The competition, which is sanctioned by USA Gymnastics, will kick off early Friday morning and finish on Sunday night.
Girls and boys from across the Midwest are scheduled to compete.
Shane Uson, owner and head coach at Grand Rapids Gymnastics, said Gymnastics on the Grand “kicks off the competition season for our region.”
A highlight of the weekend will be Saturday’s competition, which begins at 3:45 p.m. with Michigan’s Area 11 Special Olympic gymnasts, who will show off their gymnastics skills in an exhibition performance.
Grand Rapids Gymnastics is entering its sixth year of working with Special Olympics. The organization also hosts the West Michigan Special Olympics Gymnastics competition every spring.
“This event has made our athletes feel welcome and included,” said Lois Arnold, president and CEO, Special Olympics Michigan. “We appreciate being invited to do a demonstration and our athletes are very proud to be a part of this fun weekend.”
Following the Special Olympics exhibition, the gymnasts with the highest scores from the previous day will go head to head in the Alpha Factor Event Finals.
New to Gymnastics on the Grand this year is the “Gymnastics through the Years” exhibit, from the collection of Rome Milan.
The exhibit features a combination of pictures, historical items and mementos that tell the story of the growth and development of the sport.
Carly Patterson, 2004 Olympic all-around champion and member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, will make a special appearance again this year, while Jake Dalton, 2012 Olympian and USA national team member, will be attending the event for the first time.
Patterson and Dalton will be at the competition to meet fans and sign autographs throughout the weekend.
Competition will take place from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
A schedule of sessions can be found online.