Johnson In A Class All By Herself - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/13/08-Tyler

Johnson In A Class All By Herself

As sure as the sun and the moon, you'll find Alaina Johnson working out at Texas East Gymnastics. Usually, the two are just starting to shine when she's there.

"I do 32 hours every week," Alaina explained. The 17-year-old Robert E. Lee Student trains twice a day. The school works with her training schedule.

It's time well spent.

Alaina is the only elite gymnast in East Texas, which means she's a step above most who already miles above your typical gymnast.

"I'm willing to make the sacrifices to do this," she said.

Alaina qualified for the Visa Championships in Boston. The event determines which 14 make the national team. Coach Martin Parsley said qualifying for the championships is about as hard as making the team.

"There's about 90,000 girls in the United States that compete at gymnastics," Martin said. "There are now at this moment 21 girls qualified to go to Boston to try and make the Olympic team."

The Visa Championships will be held June 7.

This will be Alaina's fourth straight trip to the Visa Championships, but with it being an Olympic year, timing means everything.

I try not to think of it as too much different," Alaina said. "Just because I have other things before, other goals that I have to accomplish first."

Last week, Alaina trained at Bela Karolyi's camp, the coach of gymnastic greats Mary Lou Retton and Keri Strug. A veteran of Karoyli's camp, Alaina remembers their first meeting.

"Kind of nervous," she laughed. "But it was cool knowing that I get to meet him and everything. You know you still want to look good in front of them."

Alaina's skills not only impress the Karoyli's but the Lee junior is getting looks from university's like LSU, Alabama and Kentucky.

But before Alaina even graduates high school, she hopes to already have an Olympic medal.
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