This story is part of our new “Outstanding South Fulton” series. If you’d like to be featured, fill out the form on our website.
When you think about the Black women who have made an impact in the sport of gymnastics, names like Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Corrinne Tarver probably spring to mind. And after today, we hope you’ll add Kamilah Jones-Norman to the list.
It was 50 years ago when Black women first began rising in the elite ranks of American gymnastics. In 1980, Luci Collins was the first to make an Olympics team. In 1991, Betty Kino earned a silver medal at the World Gymnastics Championships. In 1992, 1996 and 2000, U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Famer Dominique Dawes competed in the Olympic Games winning four medals. In 2012 and 2016, respectively, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles went back-to-back as Olympic all-around gold medalists. And this year, University of Georgia alumna Corrinne Tarver is helping to launch the nation’s first-ever HBCU gymnastics program at Fisk University as its head coach.
The prominence of Black women in the sport of gymnastics has inspired young girls and boys across the nation to pursue their own acrobatic ambitions. But there’s a lot to consider before a young athlete is ready to tumble their way to the top. Recognized as one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports, parents are often anxious to find coaches that not only prioritize training, but also athletes’ mental, emotional and physical health. And in South Fulton, that coach is Kamilah Jones-Norman.
Jones-Norman, founder of Airborne Gymnastics Club USA, has created a challenging yet safe program for young gymnastics hopefuls. The former Level 7 gymnast trained for nine years with the world-renowned Twistars Gymnastics Club USA alongside Olympic gold medalist and University of Arkansas Razorbacks Gymnastics Head Coach Jordyn Wieber. Now she’s leveraging her world class training experience to nurture the talent of the next generation of trailblazing tumblers.
“I am passionate about the sport and all of its benefits,” she said. “Our aim is to inspire as many youth as possible through our amazing sport.”
Jones-Norman first launched her program in 2016 in South Fulton at Welcome All Park Recreation Center, and later opened her boutique gymnastics studio on Riverdale Road. The journey hasn’t been easy, but by applying many of the principles that she learned through her gymnastics training, she’s persevering and thriving.
“We have had many challenges getting our name out to the community and remaining open during the pandemic,” she said. “We overcame this by offering outdoor mobile classes and have since added in-home mobile classes as a part of our services.”
“We are proud of our flexibility and resilience as that is what we teach our athletes all while instilling confidence, character and the importance of developmental skills for gymnastics.”
Airborne Gymnastics offers a number of classes for aspiring gymnasts of all ages and experience levels. Classes for participants as young as two years old offer a safe setting for exploring movement and enhancing basic motor skills. The Aviators class serves beginner and intermediate gymnasts and covers USAG Level 1 and 2 skills on balance beam, uneven bars, floor exercise and vault. Adult yoga and gymnastics classes are also offered. And a more rigorous competitive team group is available for participants interested in seriously pursuing a career in the sport.
With the guidance of Coach Jones-Norman, you may one day see a South Fulton gymnast going for gold on a national or international stage.
“I love that the City of South Fulton has been supportive of our vision,” said Jones-Norman. “We have a place for you and your family at Airborne Gymnastics Club USA.”
Airborne Gymnastics Club USA is located at 2473 Riverdale Road in College Park. Enrollment for the fall season (Aug. 17 – Oct. 30) is open now.
Photo Credit: Airborne Gymnastics Club USA
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