BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Gymnastics is a sport Julianne Huff first fell in love with when she was five years old.
“Just the thrill of flipping and learning new skills, it’s just a lot of fun," said Julianne Huff of JamJev Gymnastics.
For the first time in her young career, the 13-year-old Hoover native has qualified as an elite gymnast and is now one meet away from competing in the U.S. Championships.
“It’s a really big deal for me because this has been my goal for a long time and it’s really exciting," Huff said.
“It is extremely exciting for her to make it, it is very difficult to get to this level and to qualify elite and now making it to this meet, it’s impressive," said JamJev Gymnastics owner Dara Lowery.
Huff is the first gymnast from the Birmingham metro area to qualify as a Junior Elite for the GK U.S. Classic National Meet under the new program. She is also the only Junior Elite from the state of Alabama to compete this year.
“It’s been 20 or 30 years since we’ve had anyone going down this path here in Birmingham and before that time it wasn’t the same program,” Lowery added.
Former Olympians like Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez have both competed at the U.S. Classic Meet. Huff, who’s ultimate goal is to compete in the Olympics one day, hopes her qualifying for the big meet inspires other gymnasts.
“I just try to set an example and to teach them to not give up," Huff said.
Huff will compete at the GK U.S. Classic on July 20th in Kentucky. She must score 51 or higher to qualify for the U.S. Championships in August.