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Inside the Story: N. Nevada gynmast Jake Dalton ready to take on Rio

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In a couple of weeks, all eyes will be on Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympic games.

As usual, men's gymnastics will be one of the most watched events, and northern Nevadan Jake Dalton will take center stage in his quest for gold.

Dalton's gymnastic career actually began on a baseball diamond -- and a simple suggestion from his little league coach.

His mother Denise recalled, “He was pitching to kids older and doing well, and his baseball coach said, This is great, let’s keep his arm strength up and send him to gymnastics.”

Little did that coach know, he just lost a promising young pitcher, and northern Nevada now lays claim to one of the best gymnasts in the world.

Denise talked about his promise appearing at an early age - “He'd only been there about six months, and the boys coach said he's really good, we want him on the team.”

From that point on, young Jake took off. The sport he was obsessed with didn't just become his life, but his entire family’s.

“It was his whole world.. and our whole world. It’s been about gymnastics the past 14 or 15 years,” Denise said.

And that's not an exaggeration. The Daltons were so consumed by gymnastics, they sold their business in Fernley and bought the gym in Sparks where Jake trained.

Denise still coaches there now, and the kids at Gymnastics Nevada know very well who her son is.

“He’s a really good Olympian who goes to this gym, and someday that may be me, or someone else on the team,” says student Carter Gaedtke.

After graduating from Spanish Springs High School, Jake went on to compete at the University of Oklahoma. That's when the dream of making the Olympic team became a reality.

“His coach came to talk to me about possibly making the Olympics, but until he made that first team, you never really think it's going to happen,” said Denise.

Now it's happened twice. Jake also made the 2012 team, but didn't come away with a medal.

During the Olympic trials last month, Jake talked about getting a second chance.

“To be able to go back and represent our country and our friends and our family and all the sacrifices that not only I've made, and my family's made and our coaches have made, and to show it on the highest stage possible... it'd be incredible,” Jake told NBC Sports.

As for mom, she'll keep pinching herself, knowing all those family sacrifices over all those years were worth it.


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