Founding member of Xcel gymnastics program hangs up her grips

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Flynt: 'I've been in it for nine years, and I don't know what's gonna happen in the future'

MONETT, Mo. — Gymnastics has been Macey Flynt’s reality for the majority of her life, until recently, when she had to hang up the grips for good.

Macey Flynt, former gymnast, says, “I’ve broken my ankle, I’ve broken both my feet at different times, I broke my tailbone, my hip, I’ve had a lot of things wrong with my back.”

The injuries took a toll on Macey, taking her away from the sport she loved.

Celeste Flynt, Macey’s mom, says, “A 15-year-old shouldn’t be having that much pain, so when she said it was gonna be her last year, I supported her.”

It was a bittersweet end to a decorated gymnastics career, particularly because Macey was a founding member of her own program.

Celeste Flynt says, “Xcel is a competition team where you want to compete, but you’re not quite as serious as JO, which is the Junior Olympics team, but you work just as hard, but maybe don’t travel as far or as many competitions, but they put as much heart into it as a JO team.”

Macey and her mother drove 45 minutes three times a week to Gold Medals Gym in Republic, where she practiced for 12 hours a week, four of which were purely conditioning. All that work eventually started to pay off.

Macey says, “We were at state, and I wasn’t placing in anything so I was kinda down, but it was to the very last event floor, and all of the sudden they’re going through, and I was like, ‘I’m not gonna place, they’re in top three,’ and then all of the sudden I’m in first place and I was kinda shocked”

Since she entered high school, Macey placed first in vault in three competitions. She also took home first place in beam and in bars. The accolades don’t end there, however. Macey eventually made it to the Diamond level, one of the highest ranks in the Xcel program.

Celeste Flynt says, “It makes you feel really good that all their hard work has paid off, when they get that first place, that high score, or even if it’s just not falling off, if that’s their goal, to complete the whole routine without any falls even if it’s not the perfect score. So it always hits you right there.”

Despite the large time commitment and physical injuries she suffered, Macey says she would do it all over again.

Macey says, “I just don’t know where my life is gonna be without it. Like, just to think about it, I’ve been in it for nine years, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future.”

Though she says she doesn’t know what the future holds, it seems to be taking shape a little bit. Ever since stepping away from gymnastics, Macey has been dedicating herself to diving. She’s even getting looks from Drury University.

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