The U.S. Olympic Committee named Kim Zmeskal-Burdette the Developmental Coach of the Year for 2016.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. —The United States Olympic Committee announced Kim Zmeskal-Burdette as the 2016 Developmental Coach of the Year for her work leading some of the country’s top elite and Junior Olympic gymnasts to numerous national and international titles.
In the U.S. Olympic Committee’s twenty-year history of naming annual award recipients for national coaches of the year, Zmeskal-Burdette, a three-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, is the first gymnastics coach to be named Developmental Coach of the Year. The award is presented to either a coach at the youth club, high school, or junior level, or a coach who is directly responsible for training athletes to reach the junior and/or elite level, the latter of which applies to Zmeskal-Burdette.
In 2016, Zmeskal-Burdette most notably coached 16-year-old Ragan Smith to an alternate role on the U.S. Olympic team. Smith came to Zmeskal-Burdette’s gym, Texas Dreams, in October 2013, and within six months, she earned a spot on the U.S. national team.
Smith quickly climbed the ranks, and at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer, she placed fifth all-around, ahead of three-time Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, and also ranked second in the country on beam, just one point behind 2016 Olympic beam silver medalist Laurie Hernandez.
With Smith’s successful transfer, several young gymnasts have followed suit, some traveling across the country to train with Zmeskal-Burdette, whose gym boasts one of the largest elite programs in the U.S.
One of these gymnasts is Emma Malabuyo, who moved to Texas Dreams from California, and like Smith, quickly grew to become one of the top gymnasts in the country. Now almost 15, Malabuyo is currently one of the top junior elite gymnasts in the country, having earned eight medals — including three golds — on the international circuit last year, marking the most international medals of any U.S. junior elite gymnast in 2016.
In addition to her success with gymnasts at the elite level, Zmeskal-Burdette also runs one of the top level 10 clubs in the country, receiving the 2016 Junior Olympic Program of the Year award from USA Gymnastics for the gym’s continued success with gymnasts at this level. Whereas elite gymnasts have the aim of competing internationally, the goal of most gymnasts who reach level 10 — the highest level in the J.O. system — is to earn a full-ride scholarship to an NCAA Division I school, something they achieve by impressing recruiters by qualifying to J.O. national championships.
Last year, Zmeskal-Burdette coached nine gymnasts to J.O. nationals, all of whom finished in the top five on at least one event, and five of whom also earned J.O. national team spots, more than any other gym in the country. Additionally, four Texas Dreams high school seniors at the J.O. level graduated in 2016, moving on to such prestigious NCAA programs as Stanford University, the University at California Berkeley, Yale University, and Bowling Green State University.
Now recognized as the top developmental coach in the U.S., Zmeskal-Burdette continues to dedicate herself to her passion of helping young gymnasts succeed at the highest levels in the sport. This spring, 11 gymnasts represented Texas Dreams at J.O. nationals, and so far, four of Zmeskal-Burdette’s elite gymnasts — including Smith and Malabuyo — have qualified to represent the club at P&G Championships in Anaheim this August, where they’ll compete to earn national team spots and international assignments.
About Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Texas Dreams Gymnastics has a long history of training the nation’s most talented gymnasts. Owners Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette and their staff operate from an enormous 36,000 square-foot arena. Co-owner Kim Zmeskal-Burdette is the USA’s first world champion gymnast, and is also an Olympic medalist and International Hall of Fame member.
Texas Dreams is renowned for innovative and inspired coaching and training in all gymnastics trends and techniques. The gym has a record of developing talented athletes of every age level, and has a history of placing elite gymnasts on the U.S. national team every year. For more information about Texas Dreams, please visit www.texasdreams.com or call 972.471.2345.