By Tamas Mondovics

SPORTGYMNAISTEvent Pic 7More than 140 teams and nearly 2,000 gymnasts from more than 20 states arrived in Tampa Bay last month for the annual YMCA National Gymnastics Championships.

Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and Sarasota YMCA served as co-hosts of the event while supplying a number of talented athletes to measure up their skills.

The three-day competition kicked off on Wednesday, July 2 at the Raymond James Stadium under a “Treasures Discovered” pirate theme with an Olympic-style Opening Ceremony, which welcomed close to 6,000 visitors, resulting in an estimated $4.5 million economic impact in the community.

The tourney itself took place at the Tampa Convention Center Thursday-Saturday, July 3-July 5.

“We were excited to take part in Olympic Day and inspire kids in the Tampa Bay community,” said YMCA Communications Director Lalita Llerena. “The Tampa Y is proud to support the Olympic Movement and encourage children to lead healthy, active lives.”

Local athletes representing the greater Brandon area communities who have earned first place  National Champion titles included level-two gymnasts Kelsey Stone (Vault and Floor), Desiree Scott (Beam), Maria Abreu (Vault Beam and All-around) and level-four gymnast Ariya Harris, (Vault and All-around).

Each year, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) is proud to present the annual YMCA National Gymnastics Championships at select host cities throughout the United States, promoting Y gymnasts, ages 5-18, to compete in what many considers to be an “elite event of a lifetime.” Participants competed for top honors in bars, beam, vault and floor events, all while receiving the opportunity to develop themselves and build character.

In order to compete, each participant had to qualify by receiving a high enough all-around score at a USA Gymnastics (USAG) sanctioned meet.

According to YMCA officials, National Gymnastics Championship events are developed within the core values of the Y, while fulfilling the brand promise to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility.

Olympic Day was created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games, and focuses on the SPORTSBUCSEvent Pic 3Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship.

In the U.S., Olympic Day events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.

For more information about the 2014 YMCA National Gymnastics Championships, go to

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