West Des Moines: Olympic gymnastics hotspot thanks to Chow, Gabby, Shawn

We met Liang Chow and his wife about 10 – 15 years ago when our daughter took lessons at his then-fledgling gymnastics studio in West Des Moines.  Who knew that he would become a darling of the 2008 and now 2012 olympics but it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Who knows what really goes on between a coach and star pupil but I do know that I’d trust my kid’s fragile body and emotions with him if I had a budding gymnast on my hands. He always seemed a bit unknowable behind his omnipresent smile (a stereotype I know) but he also seemed very calm and kind and dedicated. Just what you want in a coach, I’d think. So happy for him – and his star pupils Gabby Douglas and, in 2008, Shawn Johnson (who I no doubt watched as a kid when I sat through my daughter’s gymnastics classes. She’s a year older than our daughter.) Happy too for my adopted city and state  to catch a little unlikely fame. Wonder who our next Iowa-trained gymnastics superstar will be? (A few contenders can be found on http://www.chowsgym.com.)

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