(From Amy Robach)
It's a pretty incredible experience co-hosting the 9am hour on TODAY! Hanging out with people like Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Al Roker, and Tiki Barber is cool in and of itself, but today I was able to meet one of my childhood idols!
The legendary coach of Nadia Comaneci, Bela Karolyi, was at TODAY with his new team of aspiring Olympic gymnasts. WATCH VIDEO I was a competitive gymnast for 7 years of my life and Bela was the ultimate mentor. I competed in the 1980's in both Missouri and Georgia and went to the Atlanta School of Gymnastics for a period of time. When I was 14 I finally came to the realization I wasn't Olympic material; I was too tall, and just not good enough to make it to the next level. But I never regretted my years in the gym.
I talked with Bela today about how fantastic gymnastics can be for young girls. Gymnastics gave me physical and mental discipline at a very early age. I learned the spirit of competition and the importance of teamwork. I learned how to get back up from nasty falls on the beam, stumbles during my floor exercise and a pretty major crash into the vault! It was so great to see a man who has spent the majority of his life helping young women succeed, still at it and inspiring others. My four year old daughter has already fallen in love with gymnastics after taking a few classes, and when I watch her little body learning all it can do, it brings a big smile to my face.
(Photo by Eric Jackson)