Searching for Downtown Prodigies: A 12-Year-Old Future Olympian

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By Beth Mellow

Not unlike a disciplined dancer, Ted Karakitsos is studying the graceful choreography of the high bar. The 12-year-old Karakitsos is an award-winning gymnast who recently nabbed the New York State Championship.

The 7th grader, who trains at Chelsea Piers, began gymnastics when he was just 5 years old. He has a simple explanation for what started him on this path: "Some of my friends were doing gymnastics and I just wanted to try it."

A young curiosity developed into extreme dedication over the next few years. Karakitsos now goes toe to toe against kids a year older than himself and trains 20 hours a week in six different events: floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bars. Karakitsos explained that he loves gymnastics because of the competition. He said his favorite event is the rings.

Although Karakitsos has already accumulated some impressive achievements, he still admits to being worried before events. "I get very nervous every competition," he said. "I'm constantly going over the routines in my head."

Despite these pre-performance jitters, Karakitsos is very clear about his future goals: "I know it's going to be really hard, but I really want to go to the Olympics one day."

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