Champions Gymnastics Club Celebrates National Gymnastics Day

1960 Olympic Team Member Gail Sontgerath Whitney to share her Olympic experience as part of National Gymnastics Day 2015 Celebrations.

Jacksonville, FL, September 20, 2015 --( Club Owners and Coaches Valentin and Tanya Ivanov along with their competitive team members at Champions Gymnastics Club joined gymnastics clubs across the world on Sept. 19 to celebrate this year’s National Gymnastics Day.

As part of this year’s National Gymnastics Day, gymnasts, families, friends and enthusiasts from gymnastics clubs globally participated in a variety of activities, including cartwheel-a-thons, open houses, fitness activities and fun days, to build awareness of gymnastics and its benefits. Many clubs used this as a means to extend opportunities for underprivileged children to participate in the sport, while also giving the opportunity to apply for a grant from the Nastia Liukin Fund.

Champions Gymnastics Club is a family business founded in 2012 by Valentin and Tanya Ivanov and their daughter Magdalena Butler. Valentin Ivanov is regarded as one of the most respected gymnastics coaches in the world. He was a top coach in Bulgaria during the 80’s and 90's when Bulgaria was a gymnastics powerhouse. His Bulgarian gymnasts competed in the World Championships, the European Championships and he had gymnasts in both the 1997 Sydney and 2000 Atlanta Olympic Games. Valentin was a top international competitor himself as a member of both the Youth and Men's Bulgarian National Team. In 2001, Valentin moved to the United States on an Exceptional Skills Visa to become the Head Optional Coach at Starlight Gymnastics in Florida where he produced a number of National Champions and his gymnasts received Division I college scholarships. Valentin and his wife Tanya became U.S. citizens, and in 2012 realized their "American Dream" when they founded and opened Champions Gymnastics Club in Jacksonville, Florida. Together with their daughter Magdalena Butler, they have quickly built one of the top gymnastics training programs in the state of Florida. In 3 short years they have achieved 17 state championships, and their Level 3 & 4 gymnasts are the top USAG ranked teams in all of Northeast Florida.

This past Saturday, in celebration of National Gymnastics Day, Champions hosted 1960 Olympic team member Gail Sontgerath Whitney. The event was open to the public and ran from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and began with her speaking to aspiring gymnasts about her own journey and accomplishments. She brought her Olympic memorabilia along to share, and signed autographs on a 1960 Olympic tribute poster. Members of the gym’s Junior Olympic USAG competitive team were on hand performing an exhibition of their floor routines. Children in attendance were encouraged to participate themselves during the open gym time following the autograph session.

Annually, USA Gymnastics and clubs nationwide celebrate National Gymnastics Day to raise awareness of the sport and help others. In partnership with the celebration of National Gymnastics Day, the Nastia Liukin Fund is reaching out to support gymnasts participating at USA Gymnastics Member Clubs. The fund’s goals include building partnerships with fitness-oriented programs for young people, and supporting clubs who have programs that aid athletes who need financial assistance to remain or become involved in gymnastics.
Champions Gymnastics Club
Magdalena Butler