She returned to her home gym from Tokyo as an Olympic silver medal winner.
Grace McCallum, 18, received a warm welcome from her fellow gymnasts and supporters Tuesday at Twin Cities Twisters, a gymanastics center in Champlin. McCallum won her medal as a Team USA Olympic gymnasts member.
“It’s a little overwhelming right now with everything that’s going on, but I’m really grateful for everything everybody’s doing for me,” McCallum said. Fans formed a line waiting to meet McCallum, take a picture and get autographs. Others enjoyed the chatting with her and her coach.
Erin Battaglia stood in the heat with her two kids, wearing shirts that read “Team Grace.” Her kids, Braxton and Brylee, are junior gymnasts who have seen McCallum train in their own gym.
“Getting to see her stuff (at the gym) and then on T.V. at the Olympics, winning medals and inspiring girls to want to work really hard and chase their dreams,” Battaglia said.
Caryn Chalstrom of Fridley came to the celebration with her three kids. Her 8-year-old daughter, McKayla, dreams of being an Olympian. For Chalstrom, watching Grace at the Olympics was eye-opening.
“Grace is letting us see what reality might exist,” Chalstrom said.
Another parent, Cadie Kalmes, has known McCallum since McCallum came to Twin Cities Twisters. She said her daughter, a level 10 elite gymnast, looks up to McCallum both as a gymnast and person. Kalmes emphasized how humble and hardworking McCallum is.
Edward McCallum said that summed up his daughter. And now, even as an Olympian, he doesn’t think anything’s changed.
Grace said she is still getting used to this new reality.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” Grace said. “It’s just weird to be recognized in public. But it’s really cool. I’m really honored that I’m even able to call myself an Olympian.”