Patti Gable's Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech, 2005

Thank you John for that great introduction. I would like to thank the USAG Washington board and the Hall of Fame committee for their work and commitment to gymnastics. Having worked with John Smith and Lee Bjella, I have a greater understanding of the volunteer work these 2 individuals put forth for this program and would like a special thanks to go to them.

I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics since age 10, (ahem) years ago. In those years I have always loved the STATE level of gymnastics-promoting the sport, helping clubs right here, working with local coaches and local judges. Making the sport better for this area, and being an advocate for the gymnasts and judges in my state. This award is special for me, as it shows that my efforts toward gymnastics in this state, while pursued as a personal goal, have also been acknowledged by my peers.

In my career I have worn many hats.

As a gymnast, I was totally dedicated to the sport. Like many top level athletes, I gave up vacations, did additional training and conditioning at home, and even lived in Connecticut to train for 1 year as an elite athlete. I attained the level of Olympic trial competitor. However, as an athlete I also gained many other important life skills that have led to my coaching abilities, business abilities and my family commitment.

I began coaching at age 14, as this was a requirement of being in the elite team program when I was training in Connecticut. We were required to work 4 hours per week teaching beginning gymnastics classes. When I returned from Connecticut I began teaching for a parks and recreation program and George Lewis in 1976. George was a mentor to many, but the things he taught his athletes follow them through life. His commitment to all his team members, his love of the sport and his coaching skills all left a large impact on the students he taught, including myself.

While attending the University of Washington I taught gymnastics with George, and upon finishing my Sophomore year of college I had the opportunity to purchase Gymnastics, Inc. from George Lewis. The year was 1979 and I was19. I continued to coach, run the business and go to school for the next 2 years, graduating from the UW with a degree in Business Administration in 1981. It was in 1980 that I assumed the state director chair from Laurie Reid, and continued as USAG state chair for 23 years.

It was during the time that I first owned the gym that I began coaching the pride and joy of my coaching career: Linda Pierce, whom I coached for 10 years ages 8-18, Kim Rushing ages 8-15, Tina Barnes age 10-18, Kristen Pressentin age 9-15-and many more to follow. All 4 of these athletes are college graduates, 2 work at Microsoft, 1 at Boeing and one at Stevens Hospital as a nurse. 3 of the 4 received college gymnastics scholarships. All 4 of these gymnasts still live in the Seattle area. Both Tina and Linda continue to work in the fitness fields. The success of these athletes, and many others makes all the time devoted to this sport worthwhile.

I continued coaching when the gym moved to Kirkland, and actively coached until the year 1996. Since then I have been involved in the sport through operating Northwest Aerials, heading USAG Washington, and starting the USAG Tramp and Tumbling program in the state of Washington. I have recently become involved in judging.

Throughout my gymnastics career I have had the opportunity to work with and around many great people like Karen Wisen, Donna Lucero, John Smith, Brad Loan, Jean Hackel, Laurel Tindall, Nola Ayres, John Carney and many others. A special thanks goes to Kelly Donyes, my friend for many of the years I have been involved in this sport.

There are many people to thank, without them I would not be here tonight.
My parents, who supported my efforts, both as a competitor and as a business owner. Especially my mom Ann Lanterman, who still helps out with sewing needs, and working at meets. My sisters, who each, at one time or another worked with me, Linda, Bobbi and Dotty. My long term employees, who have been with me through personal and business ups and downs Mary Heit, Paula Gomes, Mandee Balsemer, Angela Carillo and especially Suzie Adsit, and her mom Kathy Reese, who have been part of the NWA family since 1982. My family, my husband Gael who got me through many of the ups and downs of the past 10 years , and my 2 daughters Tynan and Kirann, who are getting close to being trained to take over for me. With my 2 children I have come to agree that my philosophy to teach quality programs in a fun and safe environment is the correct one. I have always worked with the premise that the children need to have time to try other things, and experience the joys of being a child, while participating in gymnastics on a recreational or competitive level.

My other gymnastics hat would be as the USAG state chair for 23 years. I am most proud of the growth of the sport in numbers of coaches, clubs and gymnasts. Through the effort of my board we successfully started the level 4 program in the state, started the Hall of Fame and increased the gymnastics participation in the state by 500%. I am proud of the fact that I was able to work with so many great people, and help many new members, clubs, coaches and judges.

In closing I would like to once again express my thanks to USAG WAShington, and John Smith and Lee Bjella and end with a poem by Walter Wintle

If you think you are beaten you are
If you think you dare not, you don't
If you'd like to win but think you can't
It's almost certain you won't
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

One more time I would like to thank the members of the USAG Washington State Board and the Hall of Fame committee for inducting my gymnastics school into the USAG Washington Hall of Fame.


Northwest Aerials will turn 26 years old on August 1, 2005. Most of the history of the club has been documented and presented to you by Lee Bjella and John Smith.
The history of this club actually goes back to the history of gymnastics in this state.

George Lewis started competitive gymnastics in Washington with a program at the Seattle Downtown YMCA, which then became Gymnastics, Inc. of Seattle. I purchased that program from George in 1979, renamed the program to the George Lewis School of Gymnastics, which then became Northwest Aerials in 1981. When moving to Kirkland we opened with 15 students, turning into over 300 students within 6 months of opening.
Hard Work, dedication and love of the sport, family help and some Good Luck were all a part of the success of this business.

Success can be measured in many ways. We have produced numerous state, regional and national team members. We have hosted many successful sectional, state, regional and national competitions. But the most amazing part of owning my school for this long is the amount of impact one small business can have on so many lives. The program has been home to over 25,000 gymnasts, and has been a part of many of the coaching or competitive careers of coaches and judges that are currently working in this field today. The students in our program are now in the 2nd generation, we have the children of former students taking classes. Some families have been in our program for over 20 years. Children remember your name, and the gymnastics school for years after they have taken classes. Parents thank us for the great start their child had in gymnastics, because now they are excelling in academics or athletics. NWA and gymnastics has been the center of my life with over 1/2 my life being spent owning Northwest Aerials.

On behalf of everyone that has been a part of the Northwest Aerials family, and my current staff and family I am very proud to have Northwest Aerials be the first club inducted into the USAG Washington Hall of Fame.
Thank You!