Gymnastics trade show balances business, pleasure
|By Teresa F. Lindeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
So have multitudes of other gymnasts -- from the tiny little girls in sparkly outfits and pony tails to the champions competing at the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships at the Consol Energy Center this weekend.
Seems this causes a bit of a mess. "In every gym, it's a little bit of an issue because the chalk gets everywhere," said John Deary Jr.
He was working the DGS -- short for Deary's Gymnastics Supply -- booth at the
Among the bars, the mats and other equipment on display was The Chalk Trap, a white box sitting almost 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide (show price:
Right. Well, it was a gymnastics trade show. In addition to piles of chalk, the sport is known for its leotards, balance beams and trampolines -- all of which were on display and on sale at the convention center Saturday.
The drama, the danger and the sometimes drudgery of serious gymnastics were all right there in the displays.
A minivan was stuffed with equipment to prove that it was possible to cart the stuff around and set up a gymnastics program. Exhibitors promoted trophies -- and insurance services. One booth offered Airbac's Bling Bags -- "the solution to a heavy backpack." Energym Music, out of
For the past 50 years, this event has been the quieter sibling of the national championships organized by
That first gathering five decades ago might have had a couple of vendors and featured lectures in three rooms, said
Nobody was confused about the priorities. Everything was scheduled so participants could get over to Consol for the next round of real competition starting at
Until then, there was time to finger the racks and racks of glittery performance outfits, run into old friends who share a passion for a good landing -- and maybe pick up a few tips to lay the groundwork for that eventual Olympic medal.
"Elbows, elbows, elbows," boomed one instructor as he led a group of girls through different exercises and explained to the people crowded around how to coach their own students. Multiple smartphones made video recordings to be studied back at home gyms later.
Trade show aisles filled with lines of fans waiting to meet superstars of the sport.
A couple of aisles over, Ms. Liukin, who has won multiple Olympic gymnastics medals including the all-around gold in 2008, sat at a table with her father, Valeri Liukin, a medalist in his own right.
"My daughter's mad because I'm not getting one," said
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