Back on bars: Madera County gymnastics facility opens with precautions

Heading back to the gym is a little different these days for athletes at V-Force Elite Gymnastics.
MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Heading back to the gym is a little different these days for athletes at V-Force Elite Gymnastics in Madera County.

Young athletes are washing up at stations or using hand sanitizer located throughout the building.

"Spotting has been reduced drastically. We have to wear face masks. No outside shoes on the floor. Our kids are all spaced out, six feet apart," said Katelyn Walls, co-owner of V-Force Elite Gymnastics.

Walls said they've taken steps to clean equipment and put dots around the floor to remind kids where to stand and where they can place water bottles.

Many gymnasts are happy to be back.

"Overwhelming because you didn't know what was going to happen. For me personally, it's my last few months competing, so we cut off my season short, and I didn't get to see the people I see every day," said Makayla McMahon.

McMahon is at the gym every day and missed seeing her gymnastics family after COVID-19 shut down non-essential businesses.

"We had to close for 12 weeks. A lot of kids put their accounts on hold, which was nice. We had a lot of parents that still paid their tuition which was a blessing," Walls said.

She estimates about 60% of her students are back.

V-Force was able to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan to help pay their staff.

"So we've been able to get our staff back off of unemployment and back working, which they've all been very receptive. They're cleaning, and they're all a team," Walls said.

V-Force Gymnastics will celebrate its ten-year anniversary in business at the end of this month.

As for McMahon, she has hopes to land a spot on the San Jose State gymnastics team in the fall.

V-Force Gymnastics hopes to have its gymnastics competing in 2021, but they'll have to wait and see.
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