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Gymnastics: Olympians make big impression on young gymnasts

Cadara D'Andrea, Shayla Blair impacted by U.S. team in different ways.
By Kyle Fredrickson, For The Oklahoman Published: February 17, 2013

“I just can't believe they can do all that,” Blair said.

D'Andrea felt that bewilderment watching McKayla Maroney nail a near-perfect vault at the London Olympic Games. Proof of that sentiment can be found in her family history.

“It's amazing,” Lisa D'Andrea said. “(Cadara) is an inspiration to me. This is all her doing. She had the desire to do it. She's the first one in our family to be a gymnast. It's amazing to watch.”

Even though it arrives just once every four years, the impact that Olympic gymnastics have on both girls is something their mother's don't take for granted.

“Seeing Gabby Douglas professing her faith and seeing how she got to where she did was encouraging to me,” Trish Blair said. “It made her a good role model for my daughter because (Douglas) knew she couldn't do it on her own.”

The chance of these girls making it to the Olympics one day is slim. The real benefits of competing at this level — confidence, organization, fitness — will last a lifetime. They know that. Still, the dream won't go away soon. But what will it take to get there?

Blair smiled: “Hard work.”

Trish Blair laughed: “Hard work and a college scholarship.”