Gymnastics is a sport of power and precision, where tiny athletes perform under giant pressure. Some wilt, while others thrive.
Mobile hosted the Alabama State Championship this weekend.
Deb Wells, the meet director, stated, "We've had 600 athletes come this weekend. Their parents and their families come to Mobile to have a wonderful weekend to celebrate the accomplishments these young ladies have already had this year, and it culminates in this meet."
This competition is for levels six through ten; ten being the most advanced level. All of these girls are hoping for a chance to come back in a few short weeks for the Southeast Regional meet. One of those looking to advance to regionals is Mobile's, Blakeslee Elliot.
Blakeslee, who is a level-eight gymnast says, "I love to win, but I also love performing for all of my friends out there."
Not yet 13 years old, Blakeslee is already a 10-year gymnastics veteran. Her talent and competitive grit has allowed her to reach the state meet for a seventh time.
Joanne Novikov from Planet Gymnastics spoke highly of Blakeslee, saying, "Blakeslee is the best of both worlds. She is a really hard worker in the gym, and she's got that competitive inside. She's the sweetest kid, so you wouldn't know it, but deep inside she's really competitive."
Blakeslee didn't have her best this weekend, and failed to qualify for the regionals, but even in defeat, she shows a maturity that defies her tender age.
She commented saying, "It puts you through a challenge every single day. Sometimes you have bad days, sometimes you have good days. So you learn how to deal with some good things, but how to deal with some bad things too."