Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance looks to expand

Shawn Johnson and coach Liang Chow in Beijing.

Shawn Johnson and coach Liang Chow in Beijing.

If she decides to return to competitive gymnastics, Shawn Johnson may be training at a new gym.

For a Des Moines, Iowa TV station, Johnson’s coach Liang Chow detailed plans for what he hopes will become a new facility. His current gym flooded in June, and Chow and Shawn relocated to Iowa State University for her training sessions.

Chow said that when Johnson scored gold last August, the level of interest in his business boomed.

“We do have calls nationwide, all over the place,” said Chow.

Chow said parents are calling from around the globe trying to get their kids to tumble into the same success.

“California, Atlanta, Buffalo, so all over the place, even Germany and Canada,” said Chow.

Chow’s has had an interest boom since Johnson won gold on balance beam in Beijing, but that might not be an indicator of whether he will actually be able to realize his national training center ambitions.

Certain gyms, including Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, Parkettes and Hill’s in Maryland seem to produce Olympic hopefuls every quad, but there have also been one-hit wonders — Steve Nunno, for example.

Bela Karolyi, love him or hate him, is the only one to have trained more than two gymnasts who had realistic shots at making the Olympic team at one time.

Could Chow be the next Bela? The next Martha?

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8 Responses to “Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance looks to expand”

  1. gemuetlichkeit Says:

    Eh? Al Fong, Kelli Hill, the Rybakis?

  2. gemuetlichkeit Says:

    actually, I guess I read your comment incorrectly. withdrawn!

  3. Casey Says:

    I think part of Chow’s appeal is the fact that he produced a healthy, level-headed athlete who actually seemed to be enjoying herself, and was still able to attend a regular high school. Sure, there always seems to be a Parkette in the running every quad, but they always seem injury-plagued and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

    Unless Shawn is just so naturally happy that nothing could undermine her confidence (which describes 0% of the 16 year old girls I’ve known), Chow’s training methods seem to be particularly likely to produce well-rounded athletes. Realistically, most elite-level gymnasts won’t be olympians, but if they stay healthy and still enjoy their sport, they have a pretty good chance of getting a college scholarship. For parents investing the kind of money that training an elite athlete requires, this could be a big selling point. A gym that keeps their kids happy and healthy gives them a lot more to fall back on. Also, I think that a gym that tries to keep their athletes in regular schools is on the right track. I imagine that having friends outside the sport, who aren’t your direct competition, can be an enormous help for young girls dealing with the kind of pressure that elite gymnastics puts them under.

  4. anon Says:

    Umm, the coaches mentioned above, as well as Mary Lee Tracy, have all trained multiple contenders or even multiple Olympic athletes at the same time. And that’s just the women.

    • Blythe Says:

      Yes, but nobody’s trained more than two serious contenders in the same quad, except Karolyi in 1988 and 1992…that I can think of, anyway.

  5. vanessa Says:

    I would love to see Chow have lots more gymnasts. I am hoping Shawn wasn;’t an anamoly-I loved seeing a happy gymnast who worked out little enough that she actually had time for (GASP!) a life.

  6. Lisa Says:

    He might be the next Bela because he cares about his gymnasts more and make sure they have fun with what the girls are doing……

  7. Courtney Says:

    is his gym back now or will it never be the same and that gym won’t ever be used again?

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