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Turle's American Gymnastics: 25 years of helping athletes balance their lives

by Andrew Schunk | Editor Published: August 22, 2016 12:11 PM
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Twinsburg -- What may have started as a "hobby" for Kathy Turle-Waldron, owner and president of Turle's American Gymnastics, quickly turned into a full-time job for the lifelong Twinsburg resident.

The gym recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in Twinsburg and its sixth year in the office and industrial park plaza at 2272 Pinncle Parkway.

"I love being in Twinsburg," Turle-Waldron said Aug. 12. "I'm truly glad I'm able to have a business in the community I grew up in."

Turle's American Gymnastics, a 12,000-square-foot facility with "all the bells and whistles," Turle-Waldron says, is not the largest of her previous locations -- though it is her best equipped. She started the business in 1991 on Enterprise Parkway, then moved to Case Parkway for a period of time before coming to this location.

"I started by myself," she said. "I established a rec center program through the Longwood YMCA [in Macedonia] from 1990 to 1992, serving as director of the gymnastics program."

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Turle-Waldron, who currently serves on the Twinsburg Board of Education, moved on to become coach of the Twinsburg High School gymnastics program in 1992, just as she was starting Turle's American Gymnastics.

She served as the THS gymnastics coach from 1992 through 2012.

"Early on my father [Jack Turle] told me, 'You know this is more than a hobby now,'" Turle-Waldron said. "He suggested that we 'do this' ... and I never looked back. It's a very high quality of athlete whom we work with, and it's a full-time commitment now, for sure."

Turle's American Gymnastics has about 600 athletes and a staff of 11 part-time and two full-time trainers and coaches.

The gymnasium is ultra-modern for gymnasts, with uneven bars, parallel bars and a floor that is forgiving for those inevitable hard falls during training.

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There is "the pit," filled with foam blocks, to allow athletes to practice the high-flying acrobatics associated with the trained gymnast.

"We put in all the bells and whistles," Turle-Waldron says of the Pinnacle Parkway location.

The overriding mission of Turle's American Gymnastics -- which has turned out world-class athletes -- is to "put the child before the athlete" for the sake of balance in school, family and in sports.

"We train the whole child," Turle-Waldron says. "We teach them to be good people both in and out of the gym. We have an emphasis on keeping it fun and keeping it real ... the expectation is not to live in the gym."

Kathleen Laviano of Sagamore Hills, who has coached for 10 years at Turle's Gym and put her two girls and two boys through the program there, says Turle's "has something for everyone."

"The training here improves, speed, strength and endurance," Laviano said Aug. 12 during a short ceremony marking 25 years. "Gymnastics itself is not the be-all, end-all for the athlete."

Email: aschunk@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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