Gold Medal Coach: Jeff Wood, Owner of Orlando Metro Gymnastics
Right from the start in 1992, Orlando Metro Gymnastics in Florida experienced immediate success in their women’s gymnastics program. In the first season, many athletes qualified to the Level 9 Regionals and Level 10 Nationals. Today, they are one of the most premier training programs for women’s gymnastics. Everyone wants to know what makes them so successful.
We’ve recently talked with Jeff Wood, owner of Orlando Metro Gymnastics, to see why his programs stand out from the rest. In this post, he shares what it is like to be a successful gym owner and offers advice to those who are looking to do the same.
GK: Not having a strong background in gymnastics, what led you to open up a gym?
JW: I participated in gymnastics as a child, and although I was never good enough to be on a competitive team, I’ve always loved the sport. Several years later, a friend of mine got me back into gymnastics and I fell in love all over again with the sport. Throughout the years, I have been lucky enough to work in several gyms with a lot of great coaches. After working at Brown’s Gymnastics for a several years, I felt confident enough to open my own gym.
GK: How do you keep up with the rapid expansion of Orlando Metro?
JW: I have wonderful, trustworthy people working for me. Most of my employees have worked for me for many years and have stood beside me to help grow the business. They know how I want certain things done, which gives me the freedom to expand our program to other areas. The expansion is a plan, not an accident. I’m not only keeping up, I’m keeping it rolling.
GK: What is your favorite part about being a part of the gymnastics community?
JW: As a coach, it is the ability to learn and get better every year and then turn around and teach what I’ve learned to the athletes so they can get better. I also cherish the brotherhood that is shared with other coaches who have achieved gold medals at some of the top international competitions.
GK: Tell us about the Sand Dollar Invitational and how it got started.
JW: The Sand Dollar/Sue Whitlow (Boys’ Invitational) is held at Disney’s Wild World of Sports Complex every year in January. It started 19 years ago. On average, over 3,500 boys and girls from all over the world come to Disney World to compete in this competition. They can enjoy Disney World and all the things Central Florida offers during a beautiful time of the year. It is a very well organized meet with a lot of special awards including our legendary beach globes and custom medals. The Sand Dollar is also a Nastia Liukin Cup Qualifier. This is a great meet to bring the entire family to.
GK: Being such a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to others who are looking to open up a gym?
JW: In this business, it has to be your passion for the sport of gymnastics and not your business to be successful.
Thank you, Jeff, for all your hard work and dedication to the sport of gymnastics. We look forward to seeing what you and Orlando Metro Gymnastics have in store for coming year.
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