Local gymnast gets rare opportunity
Ten-year-old Anna Pearl Stanley is bouncy in all forms of the word; a spunky girl with an enormous talent.
Stanley got the rare opportunity to make TOPS national testing, an acronym for Talent Opportunity Program which discovers young athletes. After passing state testing, the top 100 athletes in each age group from around the country are invited to test at the National Team Training Center. Stanley is among them, and the first gymnast from Amplify Gymnastics in Duquesne to receive the honor.
“I knew from the very first day she was there that she needed to do competitive gymnastics just from some of the things she did. Really I would say it’s a testament to her hard work, and I would say she’s a ten year old who is not only very physically gifted but it takes a special personality to be a ten year old and be able to be in the gym 25 hours a week,” coach Paul Comstedt said.
But Anna Pearl or “AP” as her family and coach call her, does it with a smile.
“It feels like I’m just on top of the world,” Stanley said.
Stanley will attend testing in October at the Bela and Martha Karolyi ranch and will be evaluated by the national team staff, the same coaches that work with Olympians. Of the challenges, Stanley will try to hold a handstand for 30 seconds, do ten pressed handstands, 20 half leg lifts, a timed 12 foot rope climb using just her arms, a flexibility test and a sprint.