Gymnastics fans flock to Minneapolis for US Olympic team trials

For the next few days, downtown Minneapolis has been transformed into Gymnastics City USA.

"It's really awesome to be out here. This is some awesome gymnastics. And then hopefully in a month when the Olympics are on, we can recognize names and follow some of our favorite athletes," said gymnastics fan Michael Hodge of St. Paul.

More than 100,000 people are expected to participate in the events surrounding the Olympic Gymnastics Trials that run through Sunday night at the Target Center.

Rochele Hosten traveled all the way from Toronto to see Simone Biles, who she says inspired her daughter to take up the sport, in person.

"During COVID, she didn't want to do gymnastics, and then she saw Simone, and then she started gymnastics. She's been doing it for almost three years, and she's on a level five provincial champion," said Hosten.

"Her power. Her perseverance. She's made history in gymnastics," said Hosten's daughter, Jazaria Moore.

They are also excited about seeing St. Paul native Suni Lee, who hopes to return to the podium after health issues threatened to end her career.

"I am excited to see her comeback story unveiling. Her going and defending our Olympic title would be awesome," said Hosten's friend, Karl McPherson.

While gymnastics fans watch prospective Olympians compete for the chance to represent their country in Paris next month, organizers hope visitors will also be head over heels for Minneapolis.

"It is awesome to see so many people come together to celebrate the sport, to celebrate the Olympics, and to also celebrate the city of Minneapolis and be out here and see everything that the city has to offer," said Hodge.