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Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 6:48am

From leg braces to medaling gymnast

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POSTED: Sunday, August 3, 2014 - 9:44pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 9:32am

A Kilgore boy made East Texas proud this summer after winning gold at the gymnastics Junior Olympics. From wearing metal leg braces to wearing a gold medal -- Robert Flynn is a fighter with an inspiring story. He pushed himself to make his dreams a reality. Today, Robert Flynn gracefully glides across the floor. His coach, Ada Alexander, said it was not always this easy when he was younger.

"Robert was pretty non-mobile," said Alexander.

When Robert was seven years old, he wore leg braces from his feet to his knees. It left him shy, sad and bullied.

"Kids started picking on me at school, and they were like 'haha you have to wear them braces,'" said Robert.

"Children are cruel, and they made fun of him because he was not like everybody else," said Alexander.

Robert and his family were not going to let his cerebral palsy take over his life. Besides, Robert dreamed of being a gymnast and winning medals. He started taking classes at Kilgore Acrobatic Gymnastics.

"...to get him flexible and to get him strong so that he can do the skills, and it's a little bit more difficult for him than it is for other children."

"She stretched me and stretched me until I cried," said Robert.

They used a split stretcher to make him more flexible.

"Sometimes it really hurts my heart because I know I am causing him pain," said Alexander.

The stretches made him a better gymnast and helped his health. Robert was able to avoid surgery because he worked his muscles through the exercises. Now he is a gold medalist. The fourteen-year-old and his gymnastics partner were winners at the National Junior Olympics this summer.

"It was awesome. We were all standing there holding our breaths and crying," said Alexander.

It was a huge triumph after a long and painful journey.

"I'm thankful to them for stretching me past my limits," said Robert.

"He works extremely hard at everything he does. I am very, very proud of Robert," said Alexander.

Robert said he is not finished winning medals. He plans to get stronger and train harder to compete internationally.

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