Gymnastics' unsung heroes

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. Impressive talent, discipline and athleticism graced the Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte this weekend. But, none of it would be possible without the support from the unsung heroes. Or as we like to call them, mom and dad.

Carlos Mendez is the proud father of the Omaha Metro Stars Gymnastics' Yovanna who competed in the Nebraska Compulsory State Championship.

Gymnastics can be a big time commitment. Yovanna spends approximately 20 hours at the gym each week.

Even though Carlos is the busy owner of multiple restaurants in Omaha, he says he and Yovanna's mom make her love for gymnastics a priority.

Since the training and energy can be taxing, he tries to make his home a sanctuary for rest and relaxation for his daughter.

"Well, for now what we try to do is let her rest. It's a lot of work and the workouts are intense," says Carlos.

"She's doing it over and over again so of course we want her to enjoy life and have a little bit of a break."

Even though the work is tough, Carlos says he's astonished at how much progress 10 yr. old Yovanna's made since she started.

"To see the skills and compare where she was three years ago and now is very impressive." he says. "She's doing great! We're excited."

Carlos' dedication to his daughter is admirable to say the least. But, this is just one parent's story. The next time you see your favorite athlete, try to give a small thought to the ones that loved them enough to help them succeed.