Cambrian: Sports

9-year-old Cambria gymnast sets her sights on 2024 Olympic Games

Cynthia Arellano, a fourth-grader at Cambria Grammar School, placed sixth in a field of 18 competitors at the USA Gymnastics State Championships in November.
Cynthia Arellano, a fourth-grader at Cambria Grammar School, placed sixth in a field of 18 competitors at the USA Gymnastics State Championships in November.

Little boys play catch in the neighborhood and dream of pitching a no-hitter in the World Series. Other Cambria youths can be seen practicing ball control in the extremely popular game of soccer, with aspirations of booting in a winning goal — maybe even in a World Cup championship match.

While those kids practice their preferred sport, a 9-year-old girl in Cambria is striving to become an elite gymnast — with the goal of one day qualifying for the Olympic Games.

About two years ago, Cynthia Arellano and her family were attending the Thursday night Farmers Market in San Luis Obispo, the same night Central Coast Gymnastics was putting on a demonstration at the well-attended weekly event.

Cynthia was awed with the handstands, tumbling, handsprings and other gymnastic moves she witnessed that night. Before that, according to her father, Cynthia had become highly skilled on the trampoline, soaring high and doing back flips and more.

Shortly after the Farmers Market gymnastic demonstration, Cynthia ask her parents, Orlando and Lupe Arellano, if she could sign up and learn the skills associated with this sport. They agreed.

Over the past two years, her parents have driven her into San Luis Obispo two or three nights a week for 2 ½ hours of practice and skill training at Central Coast Gymnastics.

During a holiday recess interview at the Arellano home on Hartford Street, Cynthia — who has achieved Level 3 by successfully performing the back bend kick-over, handstand, headstand, cartwheel, round off back-handsprings and front handsprings — said she expects to reach Level 4 early this year.

She placed fifth all around (in a field of 18 girls) in the USA Gymnastics State Championships in Visalia in November.

“I was happy with the way I did,” she said. And she is poised to attend the USA National Gymnastics Championships in Las Vegas in February.

“My goal is to reach Level 10,” Cynthia said, adding that she would like to become skilled enough to qualify for the Olympic Trials ahead of the 2024 Games in Paris.

She will be 10 years of age March 1, so she would be 16 in time for the 2024 Games.

“I would like to,” she answered when asked about possibly qualifying for the Olympics.

Her father smiled and nodded as his daughter shared her long-term youthful aspirations.


Participating at Level 4 will cost the Arellano family about $400 monthly — not including the cost of fuel to drive Cynthia three times weekly to her gymnastic practices. To help with those costs, Orlando — with technical support from his employer, Aaron Linn — has set up a “Go Fund Me” account.

In order to support Cynthia’s expenses as she competes in the Nationals in February, and her other financial challenges, interested folks may make contributions through “Cynthia’s Gymnastics” on Go Fund Me. The link is cynthias-gymnastics.

Those interested in helping can donate $1, $5, $10, $20, or whatever amount they wish to support Cynthia and the Arellano family.