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Gymnasts take top honors at national competition

Originally published May 21, 2013 at 12:20 A.M., updated May 21, 2013 at 12:42 A.M.

CUERO - Jordan Bures and Kennedy Dudley hope jumping and flipping in a gymnasium will one day get them to the Olympics.

They are already well on their way, that's for sure.

Bures, 15, placed second in the trampoline category at the USA Gymnastics Elite Challenge in Frisco earlier this month, while Kennedy, 9, received first-place honors in the trampoline competition.

Kennedy also took second place in tumbling and double mini and third place for synchronized trampoline.

Her parents helped her in gymnastics, as they bought a trampoline for her when she was 5.

"I liked to jump a lot when I was little," said Kennedy. "My dad called me 'Monkey.'"

Bures, who was away from gymnastics to pursue team sports last year, said she was inspired to pick up the sport again while she watched the summer Olympics in August.

"It's the sport that fits me well," said Bures, who said got involved in gymnastics when she was 5 years old.

In particular, Bures points to Savannah Vinsant, who is considered one of the top trampolinists in the country as an inspiration, said trainer and coach Chad Ganaway.

"When I train in gymnastics, I think of her," Bures said. "She would tell me to follow my dreams and never give up."

Both Bures and Kennedy share the love of playing on the trampoline. During their practice one afternoon, they can be seen trying to perfect their landings after jumping down from the trampoline. At South Texas Elite Gymnastics and Cheer, both would practice for three hours.

The sport of gymnastics has given them something to do when they are not in school.

But gymnastics has provided more than just securing time for Bures.

"When I was little, I couldn't believe in myself. It took me a month to flip," she said. "Now, I look at things with confidence."

Kennedy felt similar to Bures but knew that to get to her own goals, Kennedy would have to conquer her own fears.

"I use to be real shy, but now I compete in front of people," she said.

Ganaway, who is also the owner of South Texas Elite Gymnastics and Cheer, said he has seen them progress to the level they are, understanding that they are at times competing in front of crowds of people.

"In these events, it's pressure packed. They're able to handle the pressure," he said. "They will give you their best effort."

Kennedy's mother, Marise, said she is surprised at her daughter's dedication.

"For her age, she's very mature," Kennedy's mother said. "Right now, we keep her involved. She does it because she likes it."

Bures said she took great pride in her performance in Frisco. She and Kennedy each said they have made it a goal to reach gymnastic's ultimate stage one day.

"Going to that meet and meeting people inspired me," Bures said. "My goal is to train for the Olympics."