Gary gymnast, 10, dreams of Olympics
October 2, 2013 2:18PM
Updated: December 2, 2013 3:41PM
At 5 months old, Tionna Kelly of Gary attempted to do the flips and splits she’d see gymnasts do on television.
“Other children stop what they’re doing when the television shows a cartoon or a favorite commercial. Tionna would see gymnasts doing all types of flips and handstands and you would see her trying to copy,” Tionna’s mom, Glynis Kelly, said with a laugh. “We have a lot of pictures and video of that girl bent over, her diapered bottom in the air.”
Recently I had a brief conversation with Tionna, now 10, about her passion for competitive gymnastics. Asked what her favorite thing to do is, she said, “floor routines.”
She currently attends and trains as a level 7 and 8 gymnast at I Flip-N-Dance in Woodridge, Ill., and is homeschooled by Glynis. Her dad, Maurice Kelly, is a firefighter for the Gary Fire Department.
Tionna has been competing in gymnastic events since she was 6 years old after a year of gymnastics classes during which she made a huge impression on the coaches. She formerly took classes at Lisa’s Gym in Wheeler, Ind.
At 6 years old Tionna ranked as a level 4 gymnast, finishing sixth all-around in the state of Indiana for her division. Due to financial difficulties, Tionna took a year off, but her passion never died.
At 8 years old, she repeated her level 4 gymnastics and closed out as level 4 state champion and third all-around and fluidly moved on to her current levels.
Maurice said his daughter trains more than 20 hours a week and credits his wife as the force behind getting Tionna to training and handling a hectic schedule.
“I am very thankful for Glynis as she takes care of my children and she goes above and beyond taking care of our children. We are grateful for what God has blessed us with and for the gift He’s given Tionna,” he said.
Tionna is eyeing the Olympics and has two years of training to become an elite gymnast. She wants to be the next Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas, who has family ties in Gary.
“Gabby will know who Tionna Kelly is very soon,” Glynis said with a laugh.
Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts’ 1999 alumnus Richard Bournes has an amazing voice. You can go to this YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbObziR4IUA and listen for yourself.
Currently living in Corinth, Texas, Bournes is hoping to compete in the national level at the Karaoke World Championship Competition in California this weekend. He is already in the regional level and if he wins the national title, he wins an all-expenses paid trip to Finland for the World Karaoke competition.
Wish him luck at www.facebook.com/richardbournes and YouTube.