By Patricia Duffy

Nastia Liukin is leading the charge when it comes to mentoring gymnasts from around the country and world. How you may ask? Grander.

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Nastia Liukin is leading the charge when it comes to mentoring gymnasts from around the country and world. How you may ask? Grander.

Athletes participate in a workshop at the inaugural Grander Academy at the California Grand Invitational held in January 2018. (Grander)

In adjective form, this word has many definitions but a few that are relevant to this new app and real-life experience denote it as “the largest or most important item of its kind” or “large or ambitious in scope or scale.”

Indeed, the “Grander experience” initially seems like an ambitious idea. But Liukin, along with her fiancé, former professional hockey player Matt Lombardi, have made this unique experience a successful reality since launching less than a year ago.

What makes this app so unique from others?

Grander is an inspirational Mobile App for motivated gymnasts to be mentored by their biggest role models. They can connect and communicate with them, learn valuable lessons for their sport and receive exclusive content.

Athletes get some one-on-one time with Grander co-founder Nastia Liukin at the inaugural Grander Academy at the California Grand Invitational held in January 2018. (Grander)

Most recently, Team USA World Champion and Olympic Team Member Ashton Locklear joined the team of star-studded athletes giving gymnasts everywhere a peek into their real day-to-day routines and their keys to success (on and off the competition floor).

For a young gymnast to have direct mentorship from elite athletes like Locklear and Liukin, among others, is pretty special. It’s certainly unlike anything the gymnastics world, and even the sports world, has seen before in this ever-evolving digital age.

Grander creates a safe and secure environment for athletes to engage with their mentors and other athletes as well, but the Grander experience isn’t one that just happens through a screen.

Gymnasts everywhere now have the opportunity to get the full Grander experience in person through Grander Academy a once in a lifetime experience for gymnasts designed to empower stronger performance and confidence.

With its first academy experience down and two more to go this competition season (Buckeye Classic Feb. 3-4 & Gasparilla Classic Feb. 24-25), Grander Academy is breaking down the barrier between gymnasts of all ages and their role models.

“At Grander Academy, gymnasts get to learn some fun tips and tricks from experts in the sport of gymnastics. Not only is it educational, but it is inspiring to learn from your heroes how to be the best gymnast you can be. Sometimes all it takes is a simple tip from Nastia Liukin on how she overcame a mental block [to impact] a gymnast immediately. It’s fun to see gymnasts walking out of Grander Academy with their head held a little higher, encouraged and inspired to compete at their best this season!” – Cory Tomlinson, UCLA Hype Man, Leadership Coach and Grander Academy Speaker

Olympic Champion Shannon Miller signs autographs at the inaugural Grander Academy at the California Grand Invitational held in January 2018. (Grander)

The speaker lineup changes slightly depending on the competition, but thus far Liukin, Ivana Hong, Cory Tomlinson, Shannon Miller and Amanda Borden have all signed on to this revolutionary workshop series open to all gymnasts, even those not competing at the meet where the workshop is being held.

Probably the best part? The affordability, especially for parents whose pocket books are already hurting from the financial strains of competition season. There are currently three passes available, including a 1 day pass, 2 day pass and VIP Pass. Grander Academy’s variety of pass options means this event is a feasible option for virtually everyone.

“Team Ontario really enjoyed the Grander Event in California – it was an excellent experience for twenty of our athletes on a competition weekend. We have been reminding our athletes about some of the things they learned on a regular basis now… I wish all of our athletes had the opportunity to attend Grander Academy! We strongly recommend making it a part of [your] weekend plans!” – Kim Rae, Team Ontario Coach

Liukin and Lombardi are on a mission to revolutionize how the gymnastics world views its stars. Less like idols, more like friends, peers and supporters.

Athletes receive Grander workbooks to take notes throughout each Grander Academy weekend workshop. (Grander)

As the Beatles once sang, “[We] get by with a little help from [our] friends.” Grander is that friend in our pocket opening the door to a world of possibilities and pushing us to be our best selves.

Grander’s next academy takes place at the Buckeye Classic in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, February 3 and Sunday, February 4, along with a VIP meet & greet/workshop taking place Saturday Evening.

Registration is required for the Grander Academy events. Go to http://www.grandersports.com/events to access detailed schedules and to purchase tickets. Download the Grander app to join the movement and stay up-to-date on all the activities.

Grander has partnered with Plum Practicewear to produce the Plum + Grander Scholarship Apparel Line! Portions of the proceeds from each purchase will benefit the Plum and Grander Scholarship for Promising Young Gymnasts (PGSPYG), which will offer academic scholarships for 2018 graduating high school seniors. The scholarship application process will begin on April 1, 2018.

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