Sallie and Farzad Gozashti are proud and excited Petaluma parents this month. Their daughter, 11-year-old Blake, and son, 13-year-old Chandler, took high honors in recent gymnastic championships.
Chandler, who is a Level 9 (out of 10 levels), competed earlier this month in gymnastics regional championships in Nevada, earning a place among the top 12 in this region of the country. His placing qualifies him to travel to the Junior Olympics the first week in May in Portland.
Chandler says he’s been doing gymnastics since he was 5½ and enjoys it “because it gives me a challenge.” A straight-A student at Harvest Christian School in Petaluma, he trains under Dimitri Aleksandrov at Novato Gymnastics. Chandler’s goals include national and world championships and, perhaps, when he’s old enough, the Olympics.
Blake, a Level 7 gymnast, was crowned State Champion at the April 7 California State Championships. She also began studying gymnastics at 5½. A straight-A student like her brother, she also relishes the challenge gymnastics presents and, she says, “I like to be able to do stuff other people can’t do.” She trains under Gymnastic Zone’s head coach Bogi Michovsky in Napa, and competes next at Regional Championships in Las Vegas the weekend of April 26-27. She has her sights set on the Olympics.
Sallie admits it’s not easy. The children get up early, study in the car on the way to the gym and work at gymnastics four hours a day. “You can’t make a child do this. Four hours a day is a long time: they need to enjoy it.” But although it’s been a tough road, “it’s a blessing as well. It’s built their self-confidence and they’re amazing students because they’ve learned to be efficient.”
Chandler and Blake get their drive from “both of us,” Sallie says. “We’re athletic and academically driven and we believe if you’re going to do something, do something you’re passionate about.”