The East County Observer and Bogey’s Restaurant and Sports Pub have teamed up to showcase the East County’s top athletes. Each recipient’s article will be featured on the restaurant’s wall.
Darinka Angelova remembers her first gymnastics competition as if it were yesterday.
She was in third grade at the time, and as she piled into a van with her Bulgarian teammates, she began reviewing each of her routines in her mind. Angelova was petrified as she stepped onto the floor, but as she began hitting her routine, all those butterflies fluttered away.
“One trick … I wasn’t too ready for it, but I did it, and I did it well,” Angelova said.
It’s been nearly two decades since Angelova first set foot in the gym, and since then, she has reached the sport’s elite level 8 division.
On June 27, Angelova represented Kids Supergym, where she has trained and coached for the past three years, at the Amateur Athletic Union National Gymnastics Championships in Savannah, Ga.
Angelova earned her third-consecutive all-around national title with a first-place finish on the balance beam (9.55) and second-place finishes on uneven bars (9.425), vault (9.375) and floor exercise (9.625).
“Whenever we go to a competition, the entire gym will stop and everyone will focus on what event she’s on,” Kids Supergym co-owner Pam Bolingbroke said. “She gives grace and dignity to the sport.”
A native of Bulgaria, Angelova began taking gymnastics when she was 7 years old after her mother signed her up for recreational classes. She advanced quickly, and before long, Angelova was competing both nationally and internationally for Bulgaria.
Angelova moved to the United States nearly five years ago, and shortly thereafter, she was introduced to Kids Supergym, where she has spent the past three years coaching a new group of Olympic hopefuls.
“They listen to you sometimes, and that makes you feel good,” Angelova said. “It’s nice to see them accomplish their (goals), but I also tell them that you don’t have to get first place to be happy. You just have to do what’s best for yourself.”
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