Letting Sarah Soar

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    Sarah Smith warmed up with her teammates from the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center gymnastics team before a meet Jan. 17, in Covington, Ky. Sarah is a full-time gymnast, practicing six hours per day and six days a week. She competes at Level 10, one step below elite. Nearly 1,700 American gymnasts compete at Level 10, but less than 100 have earned elite status. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Rather than work on an entire routine, gymnast break practices into segments and drills on various apparatuses. Sarah worked on the uneven bars Jan. 20 at Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center a few miles north of Interstate 70 and east of Indianapolis. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Before mounting the balance beam, Sarah stepped in a container of chalk to give her more grip on the beam during practice Jan. 20. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Sarah concluded her morning of training Jan. 21 at the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center, a gym a few miles off Interstate 70 and east of Indianapolis, by stretching on the balance beam. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    After a morning of training Jan. 21, Sarah, right, waited for teammate Mykenna Toungate, 13, to have her shoulders enveloped in ice before a trainer wrapped SarahÕs right elbow. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Each Sunday while sheÕs home in Jasper, Sarah makes five meals to take back to the gym for lunch during the week. She prepared her meals for the upcoming week Jan. 12. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Sarah, right, celebrated after scoring a goal against Mykenna Toungate, 13, while playing foosball Jan. 20 at MykennaÕs home in Fishers. During the week, Sarah lives with Mykenna and her family. Mykenna is also a full-time JPAC gymnast who competes with Sarah at Level 10. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Brad Smith, left, shared a laugh with Sarah as he helped his daughter with homework on Feb. 15 at the familyÕs Jasper home. Since Sarah trains nearly six hours each day, she is enrolled in a home-school program as a freshman. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Brooklynn Pierce of Jasper, 15, right, brought Sarah up to speed on what sheÕd been missing with her hometown friends while BrooklynnÕs mother, Tina, cut SarahÕs hair Jan. 12 at New Reflections Salon in Jasper. The business is usually closed on Sundays, but Tina opened a spot for Sarah while she was in town for the weekend. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    When Sarah is home on weekends, she visits Jasper chiropractor Dr. Keith Bartley to receive adjustments. Bartley adjusted Sarah on Jan. 12. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Janet Smith of Jasper, second from right, gave her granddaughter Sarah a hug upon arriving at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Coaching Spectacular on Jan. 17 in Covington, Ky. Janet travels to almost all of SarahÕs meets with SarahÕs parents, Sandy, left, and Brad. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Members of Team JPAC, including Sarah, second from right, stretched before the Cincinnati Gymnastics Coaches Spectacular on Jan. 17 in Covington, Ky. Sarah is the oldest of the teamÕs Level 10 competitors. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Members of Team JPAC, including Sarah, seventh from left, waved to the crowd as they were introduced at the start of the Cincinnati Gymnastics Coaches Spectacular on Jan. 17 in Covington, Ky. The team competes in meets throughout the Midwest and flies to one competition each year; the most recent long-distance meet was last month in Colorado Springs, Colo. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Sarah warmed up on the balance beam before competing in the Cincinnati Gymnastics Coaches Spectacular on Jan. 17 in Covington, Ky. The balance beam was the first of four events. Sarah also competed in floor exercise, vault and uneven bars. She was the all-around champion for her age group. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    After performing her floor routine at a meet Jan. 17, Sarah, left, chatted with her coach, Jaycie Phelps. In 1996, Phelps won an Olympic gold medal as part of the U.S. gymnastics squad dubbed ÒThe Magnificent Seven.Ó No American womenÕs team had won the all-around gold medal before Phelps, a Greenfield native, and her peers accomplished the feat in Atlanta. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Sarah received a hug from her teammates after competing in her final event, the uneven bars, Jan. 17. Sarah was the all-around champion for her age group at the meet. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald

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    Sarah, middle, struck a gymnastÕs pose after receiving a medal for her performance Jan. 21 at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Coaches Spectacular. She won the all-around championship for her age group and also placed first in the vault. Dave Weatherwax/The Herald