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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, May 30, 2018 3 months ago

Expansion to bring elite-level gymnastics to Winter Garden

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The owners purchased nearly new equipment from the 2017 World Championships in Montreal and had it shipped to Winter Garden.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

Since opening in Winter Garden nearly four years ago, Gymnastics USA has outgrown its 33,000-square-foot facility in the Winter Garden Plaza on West Colonial Drive. An average-sized gym has 500 students, said head coach and co-founder Zander Arthur; Gymnastics USA currently has 1,300 enrolled.

He and the other co-founder, brother Austin Arthur, decided an expansion was necessary, and they are celebrating their grand reopening of the enlarged space in an open house Saturday, June 2.

The additional 16,000 square feet of space makes the Winter Garden location the largest of the roughly 300 gymnastics facilities in the state of Florida, Arthur said.

Gymnastics USA has provided mostly recreational and lower-level competitive gymnastics in the past but is now able to offer the sport on the elite level.

The Arthurs purchased all of the gymnastics equipment used solely for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal.

“It’s brand-new equipment, only used once by the highest-level gymnasts in the world,” Zander Arthur said. “We bought all the men’s and women’s equipment and had it shipped down here. I called up there, and they were packing it up, and I said, ‘Hey, instead of sending it back to the warehouse, why don’t you send it down here?’

“That’s a really big deal to have the very high-level equipment, because it’s very hard to come by,” he said. “It’s very expensive. So many gyms have equipment that is about a decade old.”

The brothers are expanding their Ninja Kids program, where students learn how to act like a ninja. Zander Arthur explained the classes as a mix of gymnastics, martial arts and parkour.

He and his brother designed the program and license it to nearly 100 gymnastics programs in the country, he said.

Ninja Kids Extreme will operate much like the “American Ninja Warrior” obstacle-course television show along the north end of the building.

A Stunt Camp allows participants to learn the stunt actor trade, including how to stage falls and fight scenes and how to fly by wire.

The existing Aerial Silks program is growing, too. Zander Arthur said they are adding more ceiling-mounted acrobatic silks in the back area.

To accommodate the extra space and the growing membership, about 30 additional staff members have been hired.

Zander Arthur is currently designing and leading a fully comprehensive national curriculum certification program.

He has trained with nationally known gymnastics coaches such as Kim Zmeskal, Liang Chow (Coach of Gabby Douglas and Shawn Johnson) and Yin Alvarez. He has also worked with gymnasts such as Simone Biles, Ragan Smith and Jake Dalton.

Zander Arthur will coach the new elite team that is forming.

Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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