July 9, 2008

Area gymnast shooting for 2012 Olympics

Spinal Column Online
by Michael Shelton

Kamerin Moore

Kamerin Moore of Union Lake has won state and national-level championships in gymnastics. She trains at a Lansing facility 30 hours a week.
July 09, 2008 - At 12-years-old, Kamerin Moore seems like a typical All-American girl. Her favorite holiday is the Fourth of July and her favorite subject is history. The only difference is, this West Bloomfield native and Union Lake resident will be actually representing her country and possibly making history after being named to the U.S. Junior National Gymnastics team.

She secured her spot on the team after finishing in the top 12 all-around junior gymnasts at the Visa Championships held in Boston on June 7.

"I've made nationals for different levels, but I've never made a national team before so this is really exciting for me," Kamerin said.

Just missing the cut by one slot last year pushed Kamerin to take her skills to another level.

"Last year I was very disappointed when I found out that I had only missed it by a tiny bit," she said. "Putting in that tiny little bit of effort makes the difference. I actually got pretty mad and when I get mad, it usually makes me want to work harder, work on new skills and try that little extra bit."

It's a mind set that is usually reserved for adults, but Moore possesses it also.

"She is just grounded by nature," said Kristin Moore, Kamerin's mother. "Just the fact that she needs to be so mature to handle the hours of practice and the intensity level and traveling on her own, you have to be grounded to do it at her age. Our entire family is very excited and very proud of her."

Kamerin began gymnastics at the ripe age of 18 months while participating in a mom-and-tot class at Oakland Gymnastics.

Then in 2001, she moved her training to TwiStars in Lansing, where she has been training ever since she advanced to level 5 gymnastics. Her coaches are John and Katherine Geddert.

"I think that every gymnast wants to go to the Olympics but once they realize how hard it is some of them kind of give up," Kamerin said. "I think it was after I started figuring out that if I try hard enough I will be very happy. It's like an award, kind of. Every time I go to a higher level, I always say I can do better and go higher. I want to be the best that I can be so why not try it."

Kamerin trains at the TwiStars facility for 30 hours a week, which means commuting back and fourth five days a week, along with home schooling.

"I go to gymnastics in the morning, then do school work, then go back to gymnastics, come home and spend time with my family and we have dinner together, and then I go to bed."

Not only has Kamerin learned to balance her schedule, she has also learned to maintain a gymnast's discipline both physically and mentally.

"Staying healthy is basically a priority, if you want to make higher levels in gymnastics you have to stay fit; and obviously, practicing every day is a workout," she said. "Eating healthy doesn't mean salads every day. You just can't have ice cream and chocolate every day. Staying focused is hard at first, but once you start focusing on what you're doing and not what anyone else is doing it gets easier."

The results seem to prove her philosophy. In 2007, she advanced past level 10 to the highest level for her age, Junior International Elite.

Her resume includes championships at the state and even the national level.

Last year alone, she won a level 10 state title on the balance beam, a vault championship at the Junior Olympic Nationals and two bronze metals at the Visa Championships.

When competing in a big arena in front of a large audience, Kamerin does her best to tune it out.

"When I'm competing, I just have to block everyone out and tell myself it's just like practice and I do exactly the same things I do everyday," she said. "Everything turns out like I practice it, with every detail and every little thing I can do to make it as good as it can be."

Not only does she know how handle pressure on the mat, but life on the road, as well.

At a young age, her travels have taken her across the country, from Florida to California; and sometimes out of it, as when she traveled to Japan with the Region 5 All-Star Team last October.

"Being out of my house and staying at different places is kind of weird but it's all the same when you get up in the morning," she said.

While most teens have their own MySpace page, Kamerin has her own website, kamerinmoore.com.

"When people sign my guestbook and say, 'You're awesome and you rock,' I always try to reply and say thanks," she said.

"Two years ago, I never thought I would be signing autographs or having pictures taken with people. That's always been a dream, to be on the podium. When you get back to the gym, it's just time to be normal and not worry about having to show off for people."

In October, Kamerin will head down to the Women's National Team Training Center where she and her fellow TwiStars teammate, Jordyn Weber, will meet up with their other nine national teammates.

She will then be on-call and have the opportunity to compete at the events she is assigned to by the U.S. Gymnastics Committee.

While the senior national team members are competing in the Olympics in Beijing in August, Kamerin's sights are now set on London and the 2012 Olympics.

"I think I have a shot for London, it's just a matter of how hard you want to train and how far you want to take it," she said. "That would be so cool to go to the Olympics. That would be like a dream. The gymnasts going to Beijing are all really good, so to be like any of them would be a goal of mine."