COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - An 8-year-old Columbia County girl is one of the best in all of Georgia when it comes to gymnastics, and she’s has the medals to prove it.
Natalie Dugan said she started gymnastics at the age of five but after two years, she walked away for a year. This is her first year back - her first year competing - and already, she's a champion.
"She competed in all the girls out of the state of Georgia, in her age group, and she won every thing - vault, bars, beam, floor," her coach, Courtney Buxton said. "She beat them all, and she got the all-around title, which is huge - especially for her first year competing."
"Well all of them were very fun," Dugan said, "and to me it didn’t really matter of winning, it just . . you need to have fun and enjoy it."
"It was very exciting," she added, "but I knew I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and my teammates."
Courtney Buxton - Natalie’s gymnastics coach"I mean just God given talent," Buxon said, "and she’s a hard worker, and that means a lot because some kids will have that talent ,but they just don’t work very hard - so she has the work ethic. She comes in as much as possible. She lives at the gym."
Before taking the state title, the 8-year-old achieved another high-flying feat.
"It was just a local meat in Athens," Buxon said, "and sure enough she gets up there. She’s having a blast. She does the most beautiful routine ever. We get flashes ten, and in 16 years of coaching, I have never even seen a 10, let alone my gymnast gets a ten."
"I was very surprised because this was my first year coming back," Dugan said, "so to get a ten was just unreal."
So what's her next goal after achieving perfection?
"I really want to be a Gymdog, a Georgia Gymdog in Athens," she said.
“As long as you keep a positive mindset, and you really want it, you’ll be able to do it,” Buxon said, sharing a message for Dugan. “Just do not give up.”