(Cushing, Okla.)  Alex Marks, 12-year-old daughter of James and Kerri Marks of Cushing, has qualified her Junior International Elite score at the US National Training Center in Houston, TX.  Her accomplishment makes her the only Oklahoma gymnast who currently holds International Elite status (Olympic Level).

According to USA Gymnastics, there are more than 91,000 athlete members in the Junior Olympic (JO) program. Almost 75% (more than 67,000) are in the women’s artistic gymnastics program.   Of those 67,000 gymnasts, there are approximately 50 athletes on any given year who have the talent, desire and drive to compete at the Elite level.   In women’s artistic, an athlete must meet a minimum score performing compulsory and optional routines. 

Marks passed the elite compulsories at a competition in Houston, TX on May 29th, 2011.  Not only did Alex achieve the qualifying score, she won the All Around title for the compulsory qualifier.  On July 2nd, Marks attended the Optional National Qualifier at the US National Training Center in Houston.  Competing in the Junior Division (under age 16), Marks took gold on vault, silver on floor, and Bronze for the All-Around title.  More importantly, she secured her status as an Elite competitor.

Prior to qualifying her Elite score, Marks competed in the Junior Olympic (JO) program, beginning at the age of six.  Through six competitive seasons (was out of competition at age 11 with a surgically repaired elbow) of working her way through the JO ranks and levels, Marks finished her JO career by winning five more state championship titles in Level 10 in March of this year.  In all, Marks was crowned State Champion 22 times. 

Other notable accomplishments for Marks along the way include being named to the National TOPS A Team at age 9, winning the American Classic HOPES meet in San Diego at age 10, being crowned the Western National Beam Champion and Bronze All-Around medalist at the Western National meet at age 10.

Alex trains at Dynamo Gymnastics in Oklahoma City with Dennis and Shannon Harrison.