lexis Page practices at Aviator Sports and Recreation in Brooklyn.
From The NYTimes:
Sports of The Times
A Young Gymnast’s Distant Olympic Dream
By GEORGE VECSEY
Published: July 29, 2009
On weekends, the subway and bus trip can take two and a half hours — each way, that is. Alexis Page, 13, is pursuing her sport, her art, from uptown Manhattan to the outer fringes of Brooklyn.
Millions of hopeful American youths ride to practice in team vans or their parents’ cars or perhaps they bicycle to a nearby field or gym. Alexis takes the No. 2 subway and the Q35 bus.
Her discipline is rhythmic gymnastics, twirling a ribbon, dancing with a ball, an Olympic sport that is obscure just about everywhere except the old Soviet bloc.
Alexis cannot afford to think about the Olympics themselves, she says softly. She must live within the moment of the music and the rhythm, and not think how she will pay for all this, or when she will sleep.
Her coaches, with the enduring poise of Soviet athletes, tell her she has it good. They tell stories of all-day training rather than the four-hour sessions she takes. They tell of children removed from their families to join the collective athletic system.
Alexis studies them, the way they walk, the way they talk. She is preparing for life, for college, not only the Olympics. She does not have time for a social life in her neighborhood; her friends are in the gym or on her Facebook page — girls from Russia, girls from Chicago, gymnasts, like herself. One of her friends is an octogenarian European gymnast, now living in New York.