KANSAS CITY, Mo. — GAGE Gymnasts and replacement athletes for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team, Kara Eaker and Leanne Wong are off to Tokyo.
They left the Kansas City International Airport Wednesday morning to head to the games.
Their families are not allowed to travel with them due to COVID-19 restrictions, so the athletes will be traveling with their coaches, Al Fong and Armine Barutyan.
This is the first Olympics for both Eaker and Wong.
They are considered replacement athletes. So, if something were to happen to another woman on the team, one of them could step up and compete. It is unknown who would take that spot, as their coach said it would be determined by what the team needed at that time.
Wong and Eaker have been training together for years and are happy to be going on this journey side by side.
“It means so much that she gets to be there with me and that we get to do this together and experience this together," Eaker said.
“I am so happy that we have such supportive teammates and families who are so loving and always supporting us," Wong said.
Their families were at the airport to see them off.
“Couldn’t believe that after 13 years of training, it actually happened. So we are really proud. It’s bittersweet because we can’t be there," Bee Ding, Leanne’s Mom said.
“I'm really proud of her and I am excited for her. I have been to Japan myself, I hope she gets the chance to see some of the sights while she is over there, which may not happen, but she will be lucky if she gets to see some," Mark Eaker, Kara’s Dad said.
The competition will begin on July 24.