Thirteen year old Mallory Goff enthusiastically cheered while watching U.S. Olympic gymnasts fly, flip and dance Saturday night at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth .
They roared when Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman performed on the uneven bars and balance beam.
But seeing high-flying Simone Biles took emotions to another level.
“I was shaking I was so excited,” said Mallory who traveled with her mom from Savannah for the 2016 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions.
Throngs of young gymnasts and their families filled a sold-out Gwinnett Infinite Center to see in-person elite gymnasts who captured their hearts at the 2016 Olympics.
And while many girls said they were most excited to see Simone Biles, and they seemed to explode any time she appeared, they were also mesmerized during the dazzling, creative show Saturday night that veered away from a traditional gymnastics competition to weave together tumbling with choreographed dance routines. And at times, the show appeared more like something you’d see at Cirque du Soleil show with gymnasts in glow-in-the-dark costumes, soaring in rings high into the air, and spinning neon-bright, box-shaped props.
The elite gymnasts also mostly performed in pairs or as a group ensemble with few solo acts. However, the show smartly gave Bile’s the stage alone to present her magnificent, gold-winning floor routine.
Other cast members included 2012 Olympic team gold-medalist Jordyn Wieber, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, and men’s Olympic team members Danell Leyva, Jake Dalton and Sam Mikulak. U.S. Olympians from the rhythmic discipline were also on board to show off their talent.
Gymnasts from the men’s team also showed off their rhythm and strength, hanging off of five Olympic rings in what was one of the most impressive moments of the night.
The gymnasts seemed to let loose and have fun in the non-competitive exhibition. A video board introduced each of the gymnasts to explain how they got involved in the sport. At about halfway into the show, an 8-year-old girl was invited from the crowd to go onto the floor, and Biles and Douglas surprised surprised her by helping her do a backflip.
Six-year-old Kinsley Hall, clad in a USA leotard, a red-and-blue jackets and with medals around her neck, was thrilled to see gymnasts including Biles and Douglas, but at half time, the girl who has been doing gymnastics since she was a baby, said, “I love it all.”
Tickets for the 2016 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which includes 38 stops in 36 cities across the country including Duluth, went fast. The tour began on Sept. 15 in Spokane, Wash., and wraps up Nov. 13 in Boston, Mass.