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Coach weighs next move after center’s closure


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For 28 years, Jody Tompkins was synonymous with gymnastics in Columbus.

The 1980 Columbus East graduate was director at Columbus Gymnastics Center for 17 years, then opened Jody’s Gymnastics Zone in 2002. She operated Jody’s for 11 years until closing it in December.

“Gymnastics was my sport of choice as a young child, and it became a passion for me,” Tompkins said. “When the opportunity arose for me to open my own place, I thought it was a wonderful experience. I really wanted the children to experience the joy that I felt. I’ll always treasure the relationships and the experiences that we had together.”

Tompkins started Jody’s in 2002 in a 6,000-square foot building in Edinburgh. Beginning with 20 gymnasts, that number grew to about 150.

In 2004, Jody’s moved to a 14,000-square foot building on Long Road in Columbus in 2004. The space grew to 20,000 square feet, and the gymnasts grew to 400 at its peak.

“Then the flood happened, and it was monetarily bad for business,” Tompkins said. “Trying to battle this economy and keep the numbers up became too much of a financial burden to continue.”

So she sold the building to Jim Gordon in December.

Tompkins’ club team coach, Gary Stam, opened Victory Gymnastics Academy on 150W on March 11. She is helping Stam by coaching through the end of the club season, which is the last weekend of April.

After that, Tompkins isn’t sure what she’ll do.

“I’ve been so focused on having to shut down my business and everything that goes along with that,” Tompkins said. “I’m not sure what direction I’m going to go because I’ve done this since I was a teenager, but I’m sure there’s something out there waiting on me.”

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