(WHAS11) -- On Thursday, the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions brings Olympic champions to the KFC Yum! Center. But behind every Olympic gymnast, there are hundreds who do not make it there. It also depends on what you call "making it."
Anna Kaziska, 12, has already spent half her life in gyms. “Cardio, conditioning… It’s really hard,” she said. “Five hours of training is exhausting."
It is a grueling schedule for five hours a day, five days a week. As they get better, their level increases. They start as young as four-years-old at level one. But only one percent of them will ever make it to level ten, which is one level below the Olympics. Kailey Miller, 15, is a level ten. She spends an additional two hours every afternoon driving back and forth from her home in Lexington to train at USA Gymnastics in Louisville. The cost is more than time...and money.
“I've never been to one of our high school football games or anything,” said Kailey. “[I’ve] never been to any dances or anything."
Her mom, DeeAnn Miller, is a former gymnast. She drives Kailey and her sister to and from practice every day. While her girls train, she coaches the younger gymnasts. She says the return is much more than the investment.
“I think some of those things you learn from gymnastics,” she said. “The dedication, the commitment, the time factor… All those things will carry over when they're done with gymnastics.”
While going to the Olympics certainly isn't out of the question as a dream for many of these young gymnasts, many of them say they are doing it for one reason – the college scholarship.
Scott Austin coaches some of the top gymnasts. He says the commitment not only pays off with scholarships, trophies and medals but the life lessons the girls take home.
“I think the time management is something they carry with them throughout life and school,” said Austin. “Everyone realizes there's good and bad days here. You have to push through the bad days and get the good out of it."
Katelyn Cox, 16, travels from Georgetown, Indiana to practice every day. She says she's hoping for a college scholarship too but juggling school, work and practice is sometimes a struggle.
"I usually do homework in the car on the way here and on the way back,” said Cox. “Sometimes I have to stay up late to get things done."
But every one of them says they would have it no other way. They manage their time with the same detail they put into their routines because they have to.
“They've learned along the way there is no room for procrastination,” said DeeAnn Miller. “You've got to get it done. There’s not a choice.”
“Sometimes you just get tired,” said Katelyn. “You have bad days every once in awhile and you just have to work through it.”
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