At a gym in Lee’s Summit, Terin Humphrey coaches young gymnasts. She is more than 5,000 miles from Rio, but she will get a chance to help shape Team USA.
“I know what it takes to get there,” she said. Humphrey grew up in the Kansas City area and earned two silver medals in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
She still has a link to the Olympics in 2016. Humphrey is on a three-person selection committee to pick the women’s gymnastics team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She was elected to serve as the athlete’s representative.
“This particular position, only one person in the whole United States gets it and it is in Kansas City, so it is pretty amazing,” said Humphrey. “It is very much an honor.”
It's an honor and a chance to give another athlete the honor of competing for the USA just like she did. She wasn’t expecting to compete in the finals in 2004 but she powered through her uneven bars routine and won an individual silver medal.
“The 10 years of hard work come down to 30 seconds,” she said.
Understanding that sacrifice is why she takes her duties on the selection committee so seriously. “It is very heartbreaking to tell somebody after all that work, ‘Sorry, you’re not good enough,’” Humphrey said.
In gymnastics, making the Olympic team is about more than one performance. Humphrey said the athletes are on their radar for much longer.
“Consistent, a high start value, and somebody we can depend on. A rock.”
Even though Olympic hopeful Brenna Dowell, 20, trains just miles away in Blue Springs, Humphrey remains tight-lipped about anyone’s chances of making the team.
“It is gonna be very tough having only five spots,” she said. “So it’s very tough, tough road.”
Women’s Gymnastics Olympic trials will be held in early July.
After Terin came home from winning two silver medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she took a scholarship to the University of Alabama to successfully compete in collegiate gymnastics. She did take a break from the gym after college. At one point, Terin worked for 4 1/2 years as a police officer.
“I absolutely loved it. I just couldn’t do nights anymore!” she said. “I was ready to come back to gymnastics."
Now apart from traveling for USA Gymnastics, Terin coaches at Xtreme Gymnastics in Lee’s Summit six days a week and is taking classes for massage therapy.