STAMFORD, Conn. – Young gymnasts dream about competing in the Olympics. For six girls at Stamford-based Arena Gymnastics, they will get the experience of a lifetime by sharing the floor with U.S. team members at the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions on Saturday in Hartford.
New Canaan’s Caroline Fitzpatrick, Westport’s Pamela Onorato, Wilton’s Ilana Olin, Norwalk’s Bianca Dinsoe, Stamford’s Sophia Casino and Greenwich’s Maggie McKenzie will perform with members of the U.S. team who competed in London at Saturday’s show. The local girls will be part of a routine with the Olympians and will rehearse with them before the show.
The Arena girls were invited to perform after selling tickets for the event. Saturday’s show at the XL Center is the penultimate show for the Olympians, who will also perform Nov. 18 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Arena coach Laurie DeFrancesco picked most of the names out of a hat because nearly every athlete in the gym wanted to take part.
“We’ve done a lot of practicing already,’’ said Onorato 15, who said her favorite Olympian is Aly Raisman of Massachusetts. “We’re really looking forward to seeing McKayla (Maroney) and her vault.”
The tour’s website lists Gabrielle Douglas, Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone, Kyla Ross and other names familiar to gymnastics fans as among the cast for the show.
“I’m just going to go in confident and enjoy the experience,’’ said Olin, 14, “It’s going to be incredible just being so close to them and feeling all their positive energy.”
Dinsoe, 14, attends Rogers Magnet School in Stamford and was born in Romania. She “was shocked when I found out” that she would be in the show. “One of the best things will be sharing the experience with my teammates,’’ Dinsoe said. “That makes it even more special.”
Eight-year-old McKenzie is the youngest Arena gymnast heading to show. “I’m both nervous and excited,’’ McKenzie said. “We have a competition the day after, and I think being around them will help me feel more confident. I’m really looking forward to it.”
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