Shannon Threepeat

Last week, Emeth gymnast Shannon Chase and her family received some amazing news. Shannon has been named to the USA Gymnastics TOPS National B team for the third consecutive year.

TOPS stands for Talent Opportunity Program, and is a national program for gymnasts ages seven through ten to be evaluated on their skills, strength, and flexibility at the state and national levels. This is the beginning of the process that eventually leads USA Gymnastics to determining its national and Olympic teams.

Girls first test at the state level during the summer. About 2,000 gymnasts test nation-wide. Of that group, the 300 girls with the highest scores are invited to Houston, Texas in October for national testing. 

The testing takes place at Béla Károlyi’s ranch, which is also the home training center for the USA National Team. The girls are tested over a two day period and are evaluated by the National Team staff. These are the coaches who work with our USA Olympians. 

After testing, the girls with the highest scores are named to the USA Gymnastics TOPS National A, B, and Diamond Teams. These girls are then invited back to Houston in December for a specialized four day training camp that is run by Valeri Liukin, father of Nastia Liukin. Here the girls participate in intensive training, and their coaches learn about training the girls to test at the Elite level.

“This is very intense,” says Coach Heather. “They keep reminding you throughout the whole process that our next Olympians are in the room. The training that Shannon and I receive benefits our whole program. We are learning from the people who coach our Olympians.”

Shannon first qualified to a National TOPS level as a seven-year-old. She was named to the Diamond Team, which is the highest level available to a gymnast of that age. At ages eight, nine, and ten Shannon has been named to the National B Team.  This is an amazing accomplishment.

“The best thing about Shannon is that she loves a challenge,” says Heather. She is 100% fun loving, but she 100% loves to be challenged. She has fun without being too intense, and she comes alive under the pressure of a challenge. Her parents are such a blessing. They are wonderful, supportive, and they just want her to have fun.”

Shannon is looking forward to her time at camp. “All the girls stay together in these big rooms,” Shannon describes. “It’s like a big slumber party. I’m also excited to work with the coaches who have coached Olympians. I really value their opinions and their constructive criticism. 

Congratulations to Shannon for being named to the USA Gymnastics National B Team!