Tamayo lands spot to train
Charlie Tamayo, the gold-medal winning Cuban gymnast now hoping for a chance to compete in the Olympics as an American, has found a place where he can train as well as coach.
Tamayo, 27, had worked with aspiring gymnasts in a makeshift gym in a Grand Junction industrial area as he pursued American citizenship.
He hopes to compete for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
Now working at Colorado West Gymnastics, 573 W. Crete Circle, Suite 202, Tamayo said Friday he has finally settled.
“This gives us all we’re looking for,” he said. “They are OK with me training,” he said of Terri and Curtis Rahm, who own Colorado West.
Being able to train at the elevation of Grand Junction will give him an advantage when he competes in cities such as New York and Las Vegas, Tamayo said.
He and his girlfriend, Nicole Tamoush, hope to help build Colorado West into a regional gymnastics center, drawing budding gymnasts from western Colorado and eastern Utah.
In the meantime, he’s working with the office of U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., on legislation that would help him achieve citizenship. His application for permanent legal status in the United States is stalled in California, said Tamayo’s Grand Junction attorney, Luke Brennan.
Terri Rahm said that by bringing Tamayo on board, the gym will be able to handle a burgeoning interest in the sport in the Grand Valley.
She and fellow coach Steve Turley were swamped, she said.
Tamayo won bronze and gold medals in the 2001 and 2003 World Cup championships, respectively.
“He’s fantastic,” Rahm said. “I’m learning lots, too, so I like that.”
Several American gymnasts have written letters in support of Tamayo’s bid for citizenship, as well as USA Gymnastics, the governing organization for the sport.
“He’s ready,” Rahm said. “He’s very excited about the opportunity.”