Fans as Anxious as Athletes at Gymnastics Trials

NBC Bay Area

The top women gymnasts in the U.S. no doubt were feeling the pressure Sunday leading up to the finals of the U.S. Olympic trials in San Jose. But some fans - particularly young, aspiring gymnasts - had the jitters, too.

"Our daughters said it Friday night - they had butterflies in their stomachs just watching the girls compete because they know what they're feeling," said Liz Bates, a parent of a young gymnast.

On Sunday, the 14 gymnasts at the trials were competing for five spots on Team USA. Some youth coaches say it's a teaching moment for their athletes just to watch how the top U.S. gymnasts handle the pressure.

Joi Chavatte, a gymnastics coach from Florida, says she expects the gymnasts to focus on the task at hand. And that's performing well tonight.

"They just have to teach themselves to not think about the end results," Chavatte says. "They're just trying to think about what they're doing. They're taking one routine at a time, one skill at a time and not thinking about how to make it to Olympics. Just hit their routines and be proud of what they're doing."

Ruth Bettis, a youth coach from Oak Grove, says it's a great opportunity for her team members to watch the best of the best and have something to shoot for.

"It's a great example for the kids to see all of the hard work and dedication they put in, all the time they put in, and see what the ultimate payoff can be," Bettis says.

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