Oak Ridge teen going for gold asking for community support

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE)— An Oak Ridge teen has been named the 2021 National Champion in synchronized trampoline, individual trampoline, and tumbling. Now he has the chance to compete against other tumblers across the globe, but he needs your help.

Xavier Harper is only 13 years old but is setting his eyes on the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The talented athlete is already a national champion in his age division but is looking to take home the gold once he competes against other gymnasts across the world.

Harper started gymnastics when he was just five his mom, Dionne Harper explained.

“I thought we’d support him and you know it was just something to keep him healthy, but then over time we started seeing that he was really gifted in this and he’ll put the work in. So the combination of those two things, he just excelled.”

Xavier said he wasn’t as serious about the sport when he was five as he is now.

“I had like a really low attention span,” he laughed.

However, today gymnastics is a huge part of his life.

“I just love going up into the air and doing a bunch of flips,” Xavier smiled. “That’s just like soothing.”

He has competed in dozens of competitions and spends countless hours in the gym.

Now he has been selected to represent the USA on the 2021-22 Junior Tumbling National Team.

“Right now I am preparing for a competition in November called the World Age Group Competition,” said Xavier. “It is in Baku, Azerbaijan.”

His family is responsible for 100% of the funding. Therefore, his parents are asking for the communities help in supporting his big dreams.

“Just the financial responsibility of that we wondered if we were going to be able to do it,” said Dionne Harper.

She started a GoFundMe account to help pay for Xavier’s trip.

Due to Covid restrictions, she is not able to go with him but said she will be watching him through live streams.

Xavier said he hopes to make his hometown proud by bringing home the gold this time around and in his future competitions.

“My long-term goal is to actually perform in the Olympics in 2024 or 2028,” he stated.

The trip is estimated to cost around $7000. You can check on their fundraising progress here.

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