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Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012, 10:28 p.m.

Young athlete sees her dreams in motion

  • Ashley Albrecht (center), 13, of Everett, laughs with friends (from left) Lilly Kaiserschmidt, 15, of Clinton; Danielle Palmer, 14, of Snohomish; and ...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Ashley Albrecht (center), 13, of Everett, laughs with friends (from left) Lilly Kaiserschmidt, 15, of Clinton; Danielle Palmer, 14, of Snohomish; and Jillian Ohlemeier, 15, of Stanwood, as they watch the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Comcast Arena on Friday afternoon.

  • Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, completes a split jump in the air on Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, completes a split jump in the air on Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

  • Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, does a back walkover on the balance beam Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, does a back walkover on the balance beam Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

  • Sisters Anna and Ashley Albrecht, 9 and 13, pose with Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson on Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everet...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald

    Sisters Anna and Ashley Albrecht, 9 and 13, pose with Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson on Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett.

  • Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Ashley bridge-walks as others watch Thursday evening at the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. Olympic gold medalist Carl...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald Ashley bridge-walks as others watch Thursday evening at the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson signed autographs, and children and young gymnasts tried out moves.

  • Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, watches a video of a compilation of different gymnastics competitions she and other Leading...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, watches a video of a compilation of different gymnastics competitions she and other Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy athletes have participated in on Thursday evening at Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. Olympic Gold medalist Carly Patterson was at the Museum Thursday to sign autographs for local gymnasts.

  • Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, right, and Lilly Kaiserschmidt, 15, of Clinton, left, wait outside Comcast Arena for the Ke...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, right, and Lilly Kaiserschmidt, 15, of Clinton, left, wait outside Comcast Arena for the Kellogg's Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships to start on Friday. The two are on the same gymnastics team at Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy.

  • Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, laughs with friends as she watches the Kellogg's Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Co...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, laughs with friends as she watches the Kellogg's Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Comcast Arena on Friday afternoon.

  • Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, left, and Danielle Palmer, 14, of Snohomish, right, take in the competition at the Kellogg'...

    Sarah Weiser / The Herald Ashley Albrecht, 13, of Everett, left, and Danielle Palmer, 14, of Snohomish, right, take in the competition at the Kellogg's Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at Comcast Arena on Friday afternoon.

EVERETT -- Ashley Albrecht loves gymnastics so much she does handstands around her Silver Lake home.
She's given up birthday parties and sleepovers and endured daily four-hour practices for the love of her sport.
So the 13-year-old is particularly excited about an international gymnastics event that's brought some of the sport's top athletes to her hometown.
"I think it is the coolest thing I've ever imagined," she said.
The Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships wrap up Sunday at Comcast Arena.
In the stands are dozens of local gymnasts excited to see their heroes defy gravity.
One of those young athletes is Ashley, a top-tier local gymnast with big dreams of her own.
She's a Level 9 gymnast -- there are 10 levels -- which means she's perfected some of the sport's hardest skills.
Her mom, Lori Albrecht, put her daughter in gymnastics at age 4, when Ashley wouldn't stop bouncing around on the family couch.
It took some time for Ashley to love the sport. Her mom remembers her crying after every practice in the beginning. Ashley said her first coach -- an old-school Russian -- was gruff.
With time, she came to love the sport. Her mom said she's watched her once-shy daughter develop an inner strength.
"This sport has given her so much confidence," said Lori Albrecht.
Ashley planned to attend every session she could this weekend. She also got to meet Olympic all-around gold medalist Carly Patterson at a special event at the Imagine Children's Museum.
Friday, Ashley sat in the stands with her friends from her gym, Leading Edge Gymnastics Academy, and watched athletes from countries like Russia, Japan and Canada. Sometimes, the petite redhead would catch athletes doing skills she could perform, such as her own favorite: a Yurchenko full in a tuck position on the vault.
"I could do that," she told a friend after she watched one gymnast perform a roundoff, back handspring, back layout.
Later, she said she was surprised that her own skills weren't that far off from the elite athletes'.
"I could be doing all those skills if I work toward it," she said.
The athletes perform on raised platforms with TV cameras catching their every angle.
"I think I'd get nervous," she said, eyeing a camera zooming in for a close-up of an athlete on the beam.
Gymnastics has always come naturally to Ashley, but last year her performance took a sudden leap.
Parents typically don't watch athletes practice. So it was a surprise for Ashley's mom and dad the first meet of the season last year when they saw her performing high-level skills at age 12.
"My husband was literally holding the camera and gasping," Lori Albrecht said.
Sheila Bath, an owner of Leading Edge, described Ashley as one of the gym's most promising athletes.
"This kid wants to get there," she said. "She's absolutely passionate."
While it's tempting to think about Ashley competing as an elite gymnast, her parents are well aware of the sacrifices their daughter and their family would have to make.
So is Ashley.
"It's a lot of pressure," she said.
She isn't dismissing the Olympics, but she has her sights set on an education and a future profession as a doctor.
"I'd like to compete in college," she said.

Events Sunday
The Kellogg's Pacific Rim Championships continue today at Comcast Arena in Everett.
9 a.m.: Trampoline, junior prelims, finals and synchronized competition
Noon: Men's and women's gymnastics, junior individual event finals
2 p.m.: Trampoline, senior prelims, finals and synchronized competition
6 p.m.: Men's and women's gymnastics, senior individual event finals
7 p.m.: Synchronized trampoline competition
Single-session tickets are $15-$65 and can be purchased at the box office, at www.comcast arenaeverett.com or by calling 866-332-8499.







Story tags » EverettGymnastics

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