LITTLE CANADA, Minn. — The Tokyo Summer Olympics are just 24 days away, and Minnesota is going to have a big presence in gymnastics.
Over the weekend in St. Louis, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, and Shane Wiskus qualified for spots on Team U.S.A. Back home at Midwest Gymnastics Center, 14-year-old Christine Popovich is working on her own goals while cheering for all three.
"I just want to go as far as I can in Elite and hopefully the Olympics, too," Popovich said.
To become the best, she watches the best. And her gym offers an exclusive view considering Midwest Gymnastics is where Lee trains.
"It's really cool to watch her in front of me," Popovich said. "She's a really beautiful gymnast."
Several photos of Lee hang in the lobby area and gym, including a shot of her at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
One of her first coaches, Punnarith Koy, says Lee started coming to class at six years old.
"She just had this natural athletic ability," Koy said. "She just had this quick twitch and power that you don't normally see out of a kid that's never been in the sport before."
Lee was always levels ahead, Koy says, and although he got a little nervous watching her at trials, he's not surprised the Olympics are next.
"I was sweating and my heart was pounding on beam though especially after, you know, Simone took that fall," Koy said. "I'm so proud of you. Just go out there and show the world what you've got."