8-year-old Paige Calendine, a gymnast from Zanesville, Ohio, a city outside of Columbus, is no ordinary gymnast. She was born without legs, but that’s not stopping this young lady from wanting to become the next Shawn Johnson.
She told ABC6 News, “My parents signed me up to gymnastics cause they wanted me to have body strength and then when I started I had a little struggle, but then I started getting better and when we go on these bars we started working on routines,” right before she went to Columbus to compete at the Arnold Sports Festival back in March earlier this year.
The third-grader has been doing gymnastics at just 18-months-old, and now works with the Zanesville Gymnastics team under her coach, Esther Weibel. She told ABC6 News, “Paige has been working out here since she was a little girl, she started competing for us just this season as a XceL bronze. She’s a big part of our XceL team. She practices with all the XceL levels together. XceL is like an alternative program within USA gymnastics. It’s more free for creativity and skills, so we can kind of make the routines more individual to each child.”
Her parents are incredibly supportive of how active she is, explaining that she’s not limiting her activities to just gymnastics. Paige’s father, Sean, explained, “She wants to do cheerleading, she wants to swim, we’ve actually been thinking about archery. She talked about archery and stuff. We can’t do that yet but it all just depends on if that affects gymnastics. The real world is not going to adapt to her, so we don’t try to change any more than we have to for.”
Paige showed her drive in not letting her disabilities get in her way by adding, “I’m like the youngest one on my team and I wanted to be XL BRONZE so then I started getting better.”
What an inspiration you are Paige! Maybe we’ll get to catch you on the big screens in a few years.