A gymnast swings on high bar during the Gold Medal Invite hosted by Oak Park Gymnastics and the Park District of Oak Park on Sunday, Jan. 28 at Oak Park and River Forest High School. (Alexa Rogals/Staff Photographer)

The Gymnastics and Recreation Center (21 Lake Street) is home of the Oak Park Gymnastics team. However, on Saturday, Jan. 28, the Park District of Oak Park-run organization hosted its first-ever, all-boys meet at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

“The GRC is a great facility for training and classes, but it can’t accommodate spectators for competitions,” said Jamie Lapke, the park district’s Gymnastics Manager. “Overall, the event went well for the first time out. It definitely was a tremendous effort on the part of PDOP staff and the Parent Booster Club volunteers.”

The Gold Medal Invite featured 17 teams from the Chicagoland area participating with 173 gymnasts ranging in ages 6 to 17.

Three 4-hour sessions comprised the meet. Session 1 was held in a Modified Capitol Cup Competition Format, while the other sessions featured a Traditional Competition Format. According to Lapke, roughly 200-300 spectators attended each session. 

“Modified Capitol Cup is when the gymnasts warm-up one event and then compete on it before moving to the next event,” Lapke said. “Traditional is when all events are warmed before competition begins.”

Along with Oak Park, the following USAG gyms attended: CPD-Peterson, Elmurst, Gymkhana, Midwest Elite, Morton Grove, Oak Lawn, Prairie and Trinity Academy.

GIJO gyms at the event included: Dreams, Excel, Goldens, Lakeshore, Prairie, Premier, St. Charles and Viking.

“This competition was a collaborative effort and a goal of mine to be able to host a competition in the Oak Park community,” Lapke said. “Showcasing the talents of our gymnasts while promoting the sport I have dedicated my career to is wonderful. There is potential for this to become an annual event.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...