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Teen Gymnast With North Jersey Roots Continues To Break Records With Sights Set High

Olivia Kelly
Olivia Kelly Photo Credit: Pan American Gymnastics Union

A talented teen gymnast with North Jersey roots is continuing to set her sights high after becoming the first gymnast to represent an island nation on the international stage at her artistic gymnastics championship.

Olivia Kelly, of Mahwah, became the first gymnast to represent Barbados on stage at the 2022 FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England earlier this month, DailyVoice.com previously reported. She is also the first elite acrobat from North Stars Gymnastics Academy in Boonton to compete at this annual global competition.

Up next for Kelly, 16, is the upcoming USA Women’s Development Program Level 10 season, which will keep her in top shape as she continues to train for elite competitions — including the Pan American Championships in Medellin, Colombia in May 2023.

“To be able to coach an athlete at Worlds is a gift in itself,” said Ashley Umberger, CEO, head team coach and part owner of North Stars Gymnastics Academy. “All the athletes are so driven, talented, and poised. Olivia definitely fits in and belongs on the international stage. She had a beautiful debut at Worlds and as her coach, I couldn’t be more proud!”

Kelly came first all-around at the 2022 Jamaica Gymnastics Classic, an International Gymnastics Federation meet and was a Bronze medalist on the balance beam at the 2022 USA Women’s Development Program Level 10 Nationals in Mesa, AZ.

Originally from the Bronx, Kelly moved with her family to New Jersey to train at North Stars Gymnastics Academy with Umberger, a former two-time U.S.A. Women’s National Gymnastics Team member. She is under the guidance of the Barbados Gymnastics Association President Alison Jackson of The Barbados Olympic Association Inc.

Kelly’s main goal is to compete again at the FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships next year in Antwerp, Belgium on behalf of Barbados, where she maintains dual citizenship by way of her paternal grandfather, Tony Hinds of the Bronx, and to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Kelly will graduate from her homeschooled high school program in 2024 and plans to pursue a Division 1 NCAA gymnastics athletic scholarship.

“Worlds was an amazing experience that I will remember forever,” Kelly said. “I’m so grateful that I got an opportunity to compete at this level for a country that I care so much about.”

Follow Kelly’s journey with her website, Instagram page, YouTube channel, and fundraiser.

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