Young gymnast wins national competition, eyes Olympics - KPTV - FOX 12

Young gymnast wins national competition, eyes Olympics

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

Give Jordan Chiles just 10 seconds, and she'll not only impress you but also steal your heart.

When she started doing cartwheels as a six-year-old, her mom decided to put her in gymnastics training. Now, at 12, she is a rising star earning the title of Junior International Elite Gymnast.

She's the only one in the Northwest holding that honor.

Most recently, she placed first all-around in the American Classic, a national competition where she beat out older and more experienced gymnasts.

"There are so few athletes, first of all to qualify to be an elite. But she has some really, really high-level skills," said Erika Bakacs, Chiles' coach.

Bakacs would know - she used to coach Tonya Harding.

Six days a week, Chiles trains and practices, often for hours, and Bakacs said she sees more than just raw talent.

"It's the love of the sport. She loves it so much and she loves doing it," she said.

Now, Chiles has set her sights on the biggest goal of all.

"My dream is to become an Olympian," she said.

The only problem for Chiles is she may be too young for the Summer Olympics in 2016.

Olympic rules state athletes must be at least 16 years old to compete, and Chiles will be 15.

She's hoping regulations will change by then, and, in the meantime, she's training as though she were headed to Rio.

"God gave her this gift. She was born to do this, among other things, but this is just something that we had no idea she would excel at, and she's so dedicated and driven," said Chiles' mother.

"She never gets prideful, and she just stays humble. You excel when you have that kind of attitude and character," said Chiles' father.

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