BY HISATO YAMAGUCHI
Los Alamos School of Gymnastics
New Sapphire pilot program of the United States of America Gymnastics (USAG) Xcel program starts at Los Alamos School of Gymnastics (LASG) this fall. The Sapphire pilot program is the highest level in Xcel program, which the LASG director, Louise Janecky was the main impetus to establish it.
Louise Janecky, known as Loui by the gymnastics families of Los Alamos, is the director of Los Alamos School of Gymnastics for over 40 years. She is a founding member of National Xcel Committee, which she continues to serve today. She is also one of 10 authors of the Xcel program which contains the national standardized rules, requirements, and judging deductions.
USA Gymnastics was established in 1963 as the U.S. Gymnastics Federation and is responsible for selecting and training national teams for the Olympic Games and World Championships. Janecky’s active role in the Xcel program dates to 2012/2013, when she was a key advocate for the creation of an alternative competition track (Xcel) to the traditional Junior Olympic (JO) Program. The traditional linear JO program has consisted of compulsory routines in Levels 1-6; and optional, individually choreographed routines in Levels 7-10. In contrast, the Xcel program consists of optional routine requirements for gymnasts of all levels and abilities.
Uniqueness of the Xcel program is that it is geared toward providing athletes possessing a variety of skill and commitment levels the opportunity to engage in a rewarding gymnastics experience. Many gyms that service smaller communities across the nation, like LASG, have enthusiastically embraced this new national level program and the Xcel now exceeds the traditional JO program nationally in numbers.
Owing to her active role in the Xcel program from its foundation, Janecky has been elected as the representative of the Region Three of USA Gymnatics, which consists of New Mexico, along with Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. In a response to pandemic, Janecky spearheaded a proposal of guidelines for conducting remote competitions safely under the pall of the current pandemic as the Region Three chair. Her proposal was reviewed, and subsequently adopted by the national USA Gymnastics program. This innovative approach to distance competition allowed athletes across the nation to safely continue building their skills and their teams, while also providing work for a community of gymnastics judging and coaching professionals. Janecky said she is very excited to play such an important part in the future of gymnastics in the United States.
Beyond her efforts to deliver a top-notch competitive gymnastics environment for Los Alamos, Janecky has maintained a variety of recreational and after-school childcare options for the community. In the order of a thousand Los Alamos youth have fine-tuned their balance, body coordination and mental toughness through the well-rounded fitness programs developed by Janecky.
With B.S. degrees in physical education, health, and recreation with a minor in English composition, as well as a M.A. in education administration, Janecky has also developed summer sports program that both entertains and challenges. Youth in the summer program participate in gymnastics instruction but also are introduced to a diverse set of team and individual sports (soccer, baseball, badminton, golf, tennis, roller blading and more). In addition, a variety of outings have been undertaken, each designed to engage the kids in their Los Alamos community (summer movies, outdoor pools, boating at Ashley Pond and the Aquatic Center, horse riding at North Mesa stables, mini golf at East Park and more).
LASG appreciates cooperation from community organizations in its activities such as Los Alamos Golf Course and East Park Pool for the summer sports program and Atomic City Transit for both the after-school and summer sport programs.