RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And this weekend, American gymnasts get their last shot at medals. This morning on StoryCorps, we'll hear from an American gymnast who just missed making it to this year's games. C.J. Maestas has been training since he was a toddler. He came to StoryCorps with his grandfathers, Frank Maestas and Frank Barela, who have been at his side since the beginning.
FRANK MAESTAS: As a little baby, you were always jumping.
FRANK BARELA: We used to go to the little gym; we were trying to teach you how to make a somersault. Never figuring out that you would, at one point, become such a great gymnast.
C.J. MAESTAS: Well, I know, definitely, that I couldn't be doing it without you guys.
MAESTAS: While at the event, the stress is not only on C.J., but it's on myself because we're like, he did so well during practice, is he going to be able to make it at the event.
MAESTAS: It's nice to have you guys in my corner, because, you know, recently I was sitting in fifth place going into my last event, and to make the national team you need to make top seven. And I'm the underdog, but I was feeling so confident. And unfortunately, I lost my spot. I was crying my eyes out, you know, like a baby, and, you know, that was one time where I did go into my grandpa's arms and I said, you know what man, I tried. And you said, it's OK. There is always another time.
BARELA: You know I'm going to be there. Like for all the other ones, I'll be there forever.
MAESTAS: I just want to say thank you, both of you. When the day comes and I do hopefully stand on that podium, I know that my grandfathers, they got me to be this man who I am now.
MAESTAS: Well, not too many young men accomplish what you have accomplished at this age. We are so, so proud of you, C.J. Don't give up.
MONTAGNE: That's Frank Maestas and Frank Barela with their grandson C.J. Maestas at StoryCorps in Albuquerque, New Mexico. C.J. hopes to make it to the next Olympic Games in 2016. This story will be archived along with all the other StoryCorps interviews at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress.
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