Renee Marler |Renee@CedarbrookMedia.com
Fashion and lip-gloss are on the minds of most 10-year old girls, but Prosper resident, Kaylee Funk, is not “most” girls.
While Kaylee can be seen in print ads for Neiman Marcus as a model for the prestigious Kim Dawson Agency, her goal is to be seen on an Olympic podium.
“I love the motivation of gymnastics and feel I have a very special life,” says Kaylee. “It’s very challenging but I know it’s right for me.”
With a schedule that could go toe-to-toe with many high-level CEO’s, Kaylee trains from 8 a.m. to noon, attends school classes from noon to 4 p.m., then trains again from 4 p.m. To 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy. WOGA is the home of Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin and most recent Gold Medalist, Madison Kocian. Gym owner, Valerie Liukin was named the coordinator for the United States women’s national gymnastics team, replacing the retiring Márta Károlyi.
This week Kaylee and her family are on the beach in Florida taking a much needed rest from her grueling schedule. “I haven’t had a real vacation in over a year,” laughed Kaylee. She is just 10 years old and training at level 8. She was selected to be on the WOGA development team in 2012, at age 5. She started competing for the gym in 2013 and quickly mastered beam and floor.
Kaylee recently completed her level 7 season in New Mexico at Regionals with top gymnasts from seven states including Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming and won silver on bars, beam and all-around.
Kaylee’s bars and vault coach is WOGA gym owner and Carly Patterson’s coach, Yevgeny Marchenko. Coach Haiou Sun coaches Kaylee on beam and floor. Both coaches competed in their respective countries’ Olympic Games. Coach Haiou coached current National China team before WOGA hand selected and hired her in 2016.
Kaylee says her favorite event is definitely the bars, but her best event is beam.
On June 26, Kaylee and nine other gymnasts will travel to Beijing, China for 10 days with their coaches to train at the National Center. The training will be the first of many for Kaylee as she prepares to enter the national stage of gymnastics. “We will spend five or six days training and the other days we will get to go sight-seeing and I can’t wait to see the Great Wall of China,” Kaylee says.
She says her ultimate goal is to be in the Olympic Games like her coaches and some of the incredible athletes before her. “Carly Patterson is probably my favorite gymnast because of how much she loves the sport and her personality also,” says Kaylee.
Be sure to follow the Prosper Times as we will do a follow-up with Kaylee after her trip to China.