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Texas Dreams Gymnast Hopes to Shine at Trials

Kennedy Baker is coached at Texas Dreams by former Olympian Kim Zmeskal-Burdette

By Justin Hinton
|  Thursday, Jun 28, 2012  |  Updated 6:28 PM CDT
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Kennedy Baker, 16, is one of just 15 women in the country who qualified for this year's U.S. Olympic Trials gymnastics. She's trying to win a place on Team USA at the London Olympics.

Brian Curtis and Justin Hinton, NBC 5 News

Kennedy Baker, 16, is one of just 15 women in the country who qualified for this year's U.S. Olympic Trials gymnastics. She's trying to win a place on Team USA at the London Olympics.

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A sport teaching grace, turning little girls into young women, clings to a new class of athletes at Texas Dreams Gymnastics.

At 16, Kennedy Baker is a rising star. A third place finish at the 2012 Secret U.S. Classic followed by an eighth place finish at the 2012 Visa Championships sealed her spot at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

"I feel like I can do anything," Baker said. "I feel like everything's possible."

The Flower Mound native is just one of 15 young women in the country who qualified for this year's Olympic Trials.

Bailie Key, 13, lives in Coppell and also trains at Texas Dreams. The U.S. Junior National Team member is too young to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, but she's looking toward the future.

"I want to go to the 2016," Key said, "Pushing myself knowing that I did everything I could every day in the gym, with no regrets."

At the helm of their workouts is their coach, Kim Zmeskal-Burdette.

The 1992 Olympian became the first American woman to win a world all-around championship title, but Zmeskal-Burdette says the journey is what matters most.
 
"It absolutely has to be about do you enjoy waking up and putting that leotard on, running around that floor and lifting your knees higher than that person next to you and going OK, I'm a little nervous about this skill but I trust that I've done all the preparation and I'm going to make it happen," she said.

Above all, she wants her gymnasts to have fun.

"When they get in competition, if they feel nervous, take a deep breath and enjoy it," Zmeskal-Burdette said. "Just enjoy it. Because there's not that many people that get to play this game at this level."

They are life lessons she learned after hanging up her own leotard.

"She went through all the things that we're going through now so we can always ask her questions or anything," Baker said.

The Olympic Trials for gymnastics start on Thursday. Baker will hit the floor on Friday for the first day of competition followed by the second and final day of competition on Sunday.

More: Texas Dreams Gymnastics

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