Gold Olympic medalist coaching local aspiring Olympians

Vladimir Novikov says he still feels the rush whenever Olympics time rolls around.

Balance beams, flips and tumbling are like second nature to Vladimir Novikov. The gold medalist, now coach, took home a win with his Soviet team in the 1988 summer Olympics.

Novikov says he still feels the rush whenever that time rolls around.

"Every time the Olympics come around my hands get sweaty and I look forward to watching TV," he said.

It's a feeling he shares with the young gymnasts he coaches at Planet Gymnastics in Mobile. He says earlier this year he held an Olympics camp where he invited his friends who competed to come and talk to the girls.

Novikov said, "It was an introduction before the Olympics to talk about how important it is to be a part of it because it's not only about sports but about goodwill and hardwork."

Novikov says when the Olympics start, it's practice as usual, but his girls say they personally go a little harder.

"At first it was a hobby, but now it's like part of my life," 12-year-old Blakeslee Elliott said. "It's really important to me."

Elliott isn't sure she wants to go to the Olympics just yet but she enjoys watching it.

"I love the Olympics and I've watched it since I was little-bitty," she said.

For 12-year-old Brie Clark it's a dream she says she's had since she was little.

"I want to be in the Olympics one day in 2020," Clark said.