Palm Desert, CA
The Olympics are 42 days away and for this year’s athletes those days are full of qualifying, anxiety and from what we hear, excitement.
Meanwhile, many more Olympic hopefuls train and watch in anticipation of one day representing Team USA.
For 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, Mahleea Werline trains here at Power Kids Center.
She has the long-lean physique of an elite athlete. Has the acute focus, precise technique and mental toughness of an Olympic hopeful.
Well, she’s 10-years-old and recently hand picked to be groomed as an Olympian with Team USA’s Developmental Program.
"I’ve been doing gymnastics for 9 years now," and Mahleea Werline is 10-years-old. So it doesn’t require much math to realize, she began her journey at the age of 1. "I kinda just like it," Werline explains.
Gymnastics that is, and she’s really good. Training for the past couple years in Palm Desert at Power Kids Center
"We have Mahleea who is one of our level 8 gymnasts and working on becoming an Olympic level gymnast," says Alison Vaughn, one of the owners of the Power Kids Center.
Mahleea was recently chosen as one of 60 young gymnasts throughout the nation to train in Houston at a legendary location known as The Ranch.
It’s the the epicenter of USA Gymnastics. The balance beam of dreams.
"It was really a place where dreams came true for so many of us," says 2008 Olympic champion Nastia Liukin.
Leri Liukin is in charge of USA Gymnastics Developmental Teams, spotting talent for future Olympic games and training them at The Ranch.
"Mahleea was recently selected to be part of Leri Liukins’ hand-selected developmental invite camp," explains Vaughn.
It’s the training site for Gabby Douglas, reigning world champion Simone Biles and 2012 Olympic star Aly Raisman, just to name a few. And it’s the same camp where NBC Olympic Analyst Nastia Liukin began her legendary career.
"I have a lot of great memories from The Ranch," says Liukin. "I think the first time I went there I was 10 years old."
Just like Mahleea.
"I don’t know," says Mahleea. "There’s only 60 girls that go to the invite, out of the whole country and I just felt really happy that I was one of them."
Vaughn agrees, "It’s a huge honor to be invited and we’re so happy to have someone from the Coachella Valley there at The Ranch representing."
And tonight you can learn more about The Ranch and how it develops so many great Olympians over the years as part of our KMIR Special: The Ranch Home Of An American Sports Dynasty.
Leri Liukin envisions this current development team, including Mahleea, to potentially compete in the 2024 Olympic games.