Jordyn Wieber is the latest Olympian to visit TAG USA Gymnastics in Weston.
The 19-year-old, who won team gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, recently spent two days there, where she hosted a clinic and met with the 300 youngsters in summer camp.
"It's a lot of fun," said Wieber, a student at UCLA. "I love working with the girls. They always respond so well. It's cool because I always get to do a question-and-answer, and they ask the best questions. It's great to be able to inspire them."
Michael Zoldan, who co-owns the place with wife Marissa, said bringing in stars of the sport helps motivate the youngsters. Jonathan Horton, Nastia Liukin and Aly Raisman have previously visited.
"Jordyn is just a sweetheart," he said. "… When she was younger, she actually quit for a while and came back. Then step by step she became better, then a national champion and won a gold medal in the Olympics. So I thought it was great to have a young gymnast like Jordyn to celebrate with all our kids and for them to know there is never an end. There is always something better if your passion is in the sport."
Sophia Rodriguez, 10, has been involved in gymnastics since age 4. She said she learned a lot from Wieber.
"She always says to be positive and listen to your coaches and never doubt them," Rodriguez said. "She said if a coach tells you to do something, believe in yourself. Don't ever say you can't do it. She was very motivating."
Kristin Smaltino, 11, agreed.
"It's cool having her here," she said. "She tells us to never give up and listen to your coaches. I really like that we have these nice clinics and have all these famous names coming to our gym. It really gives us encouragement."
TAG USA, 1951 N. Commerce Parkway, is holding a back-to-school drive where residents can drop off items, which will go to Kids In Distress.
For more information, call 954-384-9393.
Scott Fishman can be reached at email@example.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun