Port Gymnast Competes At World Champs

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The Olympics in Rio have captivated the world and for one 10-year-old Port Washington girl, the Olympic dream is something to strive for. Ashley Gargani has been a competitive gymnast for the past four years and spends more than nine hours per week training in the gym. She attends Long Island gymnastics meets every year in hopes of advancing to state, regional and world championships.

This year, Gargani’s hard work has begun to pay off. She qualified for regionals, which was in Wildwood, NJ, advancing to the USA International Gymnastic Club World Championships in Orlando, FL. At World’s, she competed with gymnasts from six other countries and 80 other gyms throughout the country. Gargani scored a 9.2 for the balance beam, her highest score for this event.

She is passionate about gymnastics. “I love gymnastics because it’s fun and challenges me to work harder,” said Gargani. “My favorite quote is by Gabby Douglas. She says ‘Hard days are the best days, because that’s when champions are born.’” Gargani’s room is completely decorated with pictures of her idol and she has an autographed picture sent to her by Douglas.

Her mom, Trish Gargani, owner of Danceworks NY in Port said, “We are so lucky to live in a town where there are so many talented gymnasts and athletes. It makes me so proud of Ashley to see her push through her tough days at the gym. She is dedicated and truly passionate about the sport.”

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Ashley with Olympian Svetlana Boginskaya.

When asked how gymnastics impacts her daughter’s 10-year-old life, Trish replied, “She sacrifices a lot to be in competitive gymnastics. She misses play dates, parties and family events. I allow Ashley the freedom to tell me when she is done with gymnastics and wants to try something new.”

In July, Gargani attended the USA Women’s Gymnastics Olympic trials where she watched her idol Douglas advance to the USA Olympic Team. She is attending the IGC Gymnastics sleepaway camp this month to be trained by past Olympians. “My ultimate goal in competitive gymnastics is to become a better gymnast. I want to be on the Weber and Schreiber team. One day I would love to go to college for gymnastics,” said Gargani.

“This is truly something she loves and wants to do. We are all very proud of her dedication to the sport. Like many parents of young athletes, we support her goals in every way we can. There are so many benefits to competitive sports that she will carry with her forever,“ said mom, Trish.

Gargani hopes to represent the Weber Middle School and Schreiber High School gymnastics teams one day and, perhaps with a little luck, maybe we will see her in the Olympics representing the United States.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Port Washington News, special features including the Business Quarterly column, Manhasset Magazine, Pride In Port, Port Washington News, Port Gift Guide and other special sections. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community newspaper" several years in a row.

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