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Gym Owners: Olympics Boost Interest in Gymnastics

Silver Stars in Setauket seeing a trend since Team USA took the gold.

Leah Jaskolski has been watching the 2012 Olympics – and says she has also been watching the Olympics bring a steady stream of new students into her gymnastics gym, in Setauket.

"Everyone is crazy about gymnastics," she said. "Parents are coming in saying their kids are inspired by the boys' and girls' gymnastics in the Olympics."

Just in the last several days, Jaskolski said, she has seen 20 new families come in to sign up, all with the Olympics on their minds. There could be more to come. "It's really cool to see how inspiring the Olympics can be," she said.

The trend is not limited to Silver Stars. At Gold Medal Gymnastics Center, which has locations in , , and Centereach, co-owner Doreen Argenti-Colombo said the Olympics bring an increase in enrollment.

"It creates huge interest in our sport in general, from the preschool level up to the level of college competition," said Argenti-Colombo, who along with her partner Al Notarnicola has opened up three of their four locations in summer Olympic years.

According to Argenti-Colombo, several hundred new students flooded Gold Medal's four locations, claiming every last one of the special edition Olympics t-shirts and water bottles the gym was offering to new students.

At in Westhampton Beach, the Olympic rush has had the same effect, according to owner Sue Caramore.

"It's so busy we have to have our schedule and staffing early this year because we're getting an early bloom of students," she said. "The Olympic years are always this way, luckily. We ignite some business. Even some who put gymnastics on the back burner, this sparks their re-interest."

For Jaskolski, Team USA's medal-winning performances also serve as a tool to help her motivate her current students and teach them sportsmanship.

"You work hard for yourself, but in the end it's also about the team," she said.

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