State Artistic Gymnastics Competition

Legacy Gymnastics Team

Members of the Legacy Gymnastics team from Lexington rest between events.

The 2016 State Artistic Gymnastics Competition is set for Saturday, Nov. 19, at Legacy Gymnastics in Lexington. Athlete march in is scheduled for 2 pm with competition beginning at approximately 2:30. Legacy Gymnastics has hosted the Artistic Gymnastics Competition since it left the State Summer Games and became a stand-alone event.

Nearly 25 gymnasts will compete at the event which will include floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars and vault events for women and floor exercise, rings, pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar events for the men.

Kentucky offers one of the nation’s best Special Olympics gymnastics programs and Kentucky gymnasts have enjoyed tremendous success at both the USA and World Games.

For more information about the State Artistic Gymnastics Competition or the Special Olympics gymnastics program, contact Amanda Wade, Program Director-Individual Sports at 502-695-8222 or via e-mail at

On Nov. 21, 22 of Special Olympics Kentucky’s most energetic athletes took to the mats at Legacy Gymnastics for the 2015 State Artistic Gymnastics competition.

The most competitive division of the day came with our youngest athletes, all from 12-14 years old on the women’s side. Twelve-year-old Jayda Stafford of Walton posted two of the best scores of the day with a 19.7 on the beam and a 19.1 on the bars. Both were good enough for event gold medals. However a bobble on the floor was too much to overcome and she finished with the bronze in the all-around. Stafford’s teammate with Spirit Gymnastics Salena Cohen, also 12 and from Walton, also topped 19 in two events with a 19.2 in vault and 19.0 in bars — both good for event silver medals. She also struggled in the floor exercise and finished fourth in the all-around.

It was two more Spirit Gymnastics teammates who put together consistent days across all events who rose to claim the gold and silver in the division all-around. Tori Stafford, 14 and sister to Jayda, opened with a 19.5 in the vault to claim that event gold medal, won the floor gold with a score of 18.55 and closed with an 18.3 on the beam to hold off teammate Ariana Perkins, 13 of Alexandria. Perkins placed second in the floor with an 18.3 mark and posted no score lower than 17.4 to finish second in the all-around, just 1.75 points behind Tori Stafford. Jayda Stafford was a mere .35 points behind Perkins.

Erlanger’s Danielle Blakeney — who has represented Kentucky and Team USA at the last two World Games and USA Games in rhythmic or artistic gymnastics — also had a tremendous competition with teammate Jennifer Rhein of Ludlow. The pair opened just .05 points apart after the vault, with Blakeney claiming the event gold with a score of 18.95. A 3.1-point difference on the beam allowed Blakeney to pull away to a six-point victory in the all-around.

Several other veteran gymnasts also had outstanding days.

Tonya Cornett

Tonya Cornett posted a 16.6 on the beam to help her to an all-around gold medal.

Former World Games participants Tonya Cornett and Sabrina Schmidt, both of Lexington, squared off in one division. Cornett opened with an 18.6 on the vault and used a solid beam routine to hold Schmidt off by 5.25 points for the all-around gold.

Russellville’s Lee Dockins — another World and USA Games gold medalist — put on a stellar performance, with three scores of 18.9 and above, on her way to a 73.65 all-around score and a gold medal.

On the men’s side, Nicholasville’s Phillip Riley had four scores above 18.5, including a 19.8 on vault and 19.0 on parallel bars to go with an 18.9 in the floor exercise to finish with an all-around score of 110.8 and a gold medal.

Our thanks to Legacy Gymnastics for their continued support of the Special Olympics Kentucky gymnastics program. We also would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make the State Artistic Gymnastics Competition such a great event.

Permanent link to this article: