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Kyla Ross

UCLA gymnastics has an Olympic aura surrounding its program

UCLA gymnastics has an Olympic aura surrounding its program

Chalk dust rises in small puffs and floats through the air at the John Wooden Center as members of UCLA’s women’s gymnastics team await their turns at practice. The dust is an occupational hazard but it becomes an art form when one young woman offers a comforting hug to another who stumbled off the mat, an embrace that leaves ghostly handprints on the back of the now-smiling teammate’s shirt.

The air is filled with bouncy music and joyful noise, the sound of athletes who respect each other and the sport they perform so well. Kyla Ross, who helped the U.S. win a team gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, laughs after an errant vault. Madison Kocian, a team gold medalist and silver...

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