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Let's Get Ready to T-T-T-Tumble!

You can call Allan Bower "Super Boy."

People who know gymnastics sure do. The six-year-old can't leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he can hold a back lever for thirty seconds.

That means hanging with your lower body parallel to the floor. (See cover photo.) It's very hard to do.

Allan manages such feats by staying focused. "There's nothing else I'd rather do," he says. "I wouldn't give it up for anything." He doesn't mind the occasional bruise. "I had a fall on the pommel horse at the (Arizona) state meet in March," he said. "But I've never broken anything."

Allan placed fifth at the 2001 United States American Gymnastics (USAG) Region 1 Men's Championships in floor exercise--a lot like high-speed, super-powerful tumbling. He was the youngest competitor from the southwestern region of the U.S.

Starting gymnastics when he was two might have a lot to do with Allan's success. "At first I liked doing backward and forward rolls into a foam-filled pit," he says. "I also liked using the trampoline and climbing up a twenty-foot rope." By age three, he was competing.

Allan begins each workout with a warmup on the floor or trampoline to develop strength and flexibility. Stretching is very important to a gymnast, who must count on his body to bend many different directions.

OOF!

Allan's next big goal? Making the cut for the May, 2002 regionals in Hawaii. Luckily the first-grader is not the nervous type.

"Gymnastics is fun, and I'm good at it," he says. Could these be the words of a future Olympic champion? It doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.

Making a Mighty Menu

Being a tough competitor requires lots of discipline. Allan practices his routines at least twelve hours a week. He also sticks to a healthy, low-fat, low-sugar diet. "I drink lots of milk and water, but very little soda," he says. "And I eat pineapple, strawberries, carrots, celery, and loads of other fruits and veggies." He also gets at least ten hours of sleep every night.

Apparatus Status

"I'm really good at the P-bars (parallel bars), where I can do a handstand or swing back into a basket," says Allan. "I'm also good at doing flares (double leg circles with legs wide apart) on the pommel horse. But I'm proudest of my handstand on the rings."

A Gymnastics Jamboree

Are you head-over-heels about gymnastics? A great book to learn more from is Gymnastics, part of D.K. Publishing's "Superguides" series.

You'll find page after page of great information and the illustrations and photos you need to get your gymnastics career rolling.

If you'd like to direct order Gymnastics, send $9.95 plus $2 shipping and handling to Gymnastics, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206. You can also get this book and other great kid products online at www.uskidsmag.org in the gift shop.

Style Smiles

Style, strength, and grace are vital in gymnastics. Judges deduct from a 8.6 starting score for men, (9.0 for women) for flaws in execution of routines. Or they can add bonus points for good work (1.40 points for men, 1.0 for women). Up to a 10 score is possible for a perfect routine.

Each judge decides a score for each individual competitor. The highest and lowest scores are thrown out; the average of the rest is the final score.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:six-year-old gymnast Allan Bower
Author:Arenofsky, Janice
Publication:U.S. Kids
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Words:566
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