Hamlet gymnast

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Jody Meacham
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Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Fri August 22, 2014, 12:35 am

Ashton Locklear had a victory this month in a major national gymnastics meet in Chicago. She popped up in my Google search, which looks for any news that includes "Hamlet, N.C."

Ashton, who was born in Lumberton but now lists her home as Hamlet, won the uneven bars and finished 11th overall. She has already committed to the University of Florida in 2016. Anybody there heard of her?
Jody Meacham
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Wayne Fuller
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Wayne Fuller » Sat August 23, 2014, 8:33 am

Jody, the only Ashton that I know of in Hamlet is Don Knights grandson Ashton Locklear. He was Drum Major and graduated from RSHS this past school year.

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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Sat August 23, 2014, 1:32 pm

Thanks, Wayne.

One of the reasons I posted about her here is because I thought very few people might be aware of her even though, based on her performance, she's probably a strong candidate for the U.S. Olympic Team for 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. That's her goal. If you're an Olympic-level athlete from a small town, you very likely have to move away or do some long commuting to find the right mix of coaching and educational opportunities, which doesn't leave much time for doing things with people where you live.

Ashton is home schooled, according to her USA Gymnastics biography at https://usagym.org/pages/events/nlc/athleteListDetail.html?id=152485, and she trains at a gym in Huntersville, which fits the pattern I mentioned above. Her parents are listed as Carrie and Terry Locklear and she has a sister named Angelia.

It is very difficult to predict how a girl gymnast's career will progress because at the Olympic level, they are very young. Ashton has an injury history as most gymnasts do -- she's broken her back at least once and had three or four serious knee injuries according to this video interview with her at http://www.gymnastike.org/video/746987-iMeet-the-Elite-Ashton-Locklear-Everest-Gymnastics#.U_jJ4_ldVMg. But she's at the right age for 2016 and among the best in the nation in a couple of events, so she's in the Olympic mix at this point and Hamlet could be talked about internationally in a couple of years because of her.

The places to watch for her to make her mark regarding the national team are the 2015 national championships next August in Indianapolis, which serves as part of the selection process for the U.S. team for the world championships, and the 2015 world championships themselves, which is usually a preview for the Olympics. The 2015 worlds will be in November in Glasgow, Scotland.
Jody Meacham

HHS Class of 1969

Jody Meacham
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Mon October 6, 2014, 1:53 pm

I see the Daily Journal did a piece on Locklear last Friday http://yourdailyjournal.com/news/sports/150026488/Locklear-dreams-of-Olympic-glory
Jody Meacham

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Jody Meacham
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Thu October 9, 2014, 1:18 am

The United States won this year's women's world gymnastics team championships held in China with Ashton Locklear playing a key role, scoring second highest of 24 gymnasts on the uneven bars (China's Huidan Huang barely outscored Ashton, 15.133-15.100). Good to see the Daily Journal and Pee Dee Post have picked up her story.

Individual world championships will be decided Saturday in two of the events in which women compete, uneven bars and vault. Based on how well she did in the team competition, Ashton has a great chance at getting an individual medal to go with her team gold. NBC will have taped coverage sometime this weekend. This is an unprecedented place for any Hamlet athlete.

Nevertheless, gymnastics exists for the public only during the Olympics, and the question for most people is will Ashton get there? Two years out from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she's clearly a top candidate. But there's a lot she still has to do.

Her presence on the U.S. team this week means the coaches consider her one of the top seven gymnasts in the country right now. Her performance at the world championships means the top international judges can see her and what she can do, which has been excellent to this point. If Ashton continues to improve and avoids injury for another year, there will be a 2015 world championships in Glasgow, Scotland where she can show her stuff again in front of all the people in the sport who matter.

The Olympics can be a different story, and Ashton's hopes there may depend on what the rules are. The rules for worlds allow a team of six athletes. Of those, only three are allowed to compete in each event of the team competition. Ashton is not the only specialist on the U.S. team this year; two of the other U.S. athletes also scored in just one event, one athlete scored in two events, one athlete scored in three and one in all four.

Olympic rules for how many athletes can be on each nation's team and which athletes' scores count sometimes change. But if the Olympic team rules are the same as this year's worlds and Ashton maintains her current ranking, it would be awfully hard to leave off an athlete who ranks in the top two in the world in an event.
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TR4
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby TR4 » Thu October 9, 2014, 1:22 pm

Why not appoint her to a team
Last edited by TR4 on Sat October 11, 2014, 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jody Meacham
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Thu October 9, 2014, 1:49 pm

TR4, you can look at the scores that judges from around the world have given Ashton Locklear and you can look at her performances on YouTube and see that she has earned her place in the gymnastics world.
Jody Meacham

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Jody Meacham
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Re: Hamlet gymnast

Postby Jody Meacham » Thu October 16, 2014, 1:16 pm

Nice to see her getting some recognition: http://yourdailyjournal.com/news/home_top-localnews1/150188425/Gymnast-returns-from-China. It hasn't been written about locally, but I believe the Charlotte Observer story about Ashton said that her spinal fractures have hampered her progress on the balance beam, vault and floor exercise and are the reason she is an uneven bars specialist at present. If she can fully recover, her scores in those events may improve significantly.
Jody Meacham

HHS Class of 1969


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