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Rise Above with Destira Star Laynee Smith

Gymnastics is a tough sport, there is no doubt about it. From learning new skills as a toddler gymnast to perfecting routines as a competitive gymnast, there are challenges along the way. 

Destira Star, Laynee, is a level 4 gymnast from Idaho. She currently attends Madison Gymnastics Center with her sister, Kinley, who is also a Destira Star. During her first year as a competitive gymnast, Laynee was competing level 3 at Avalanche Gymnastics Academy.

One day at the end of the season, while doing a roundoff back handspring, she twisted and over-extended her back. As one can imagine, Laynee was in immense amounts of pain. Her first doctor did not see anything in her X-Rays to explain the pain. It took many doctor visits, and finally one ordered a CT scan. While  X-rays did not show anything, the CT scan showed a fracture in Laynee’s spine. 
Naturally, Laynee went through a lot of emotions. At first, she was not quite sure what to think, but as reality set in, so did the sadness. She was out of gymnastics for about 5 months! In the past, any gymnastics injuries Laynee had were just bruises. This time it was a serious fracture that took her out of practice from the end of her first level 3 season to almost the beginning of the next season. 
Destira Star Laynee Smith receiving a bone scan after her injury during a gymnastics competition, Destira, 2024Laynee receiving a bone scan after her injury.
While recovering, Laynee’s sister, Kinley, made the team at Avalanche Gymnastis Academy. This brought on another round of emotions as Laynee was ecstatic for her sister but also had to deal with feeling upset because she was unable to go and practice with her sister and teammates and build relationships and memories with them.
Once the doctors were sure of Laynee's fractured spine, they were able to set her on a path of recovery. To recover, Laynee needed plenty of rest, many chiropractor appointments, and had to wear a special belt on her lower back. Once Laynee was cleared to get back to the gym for training, she feared that she would fracture her back again. Laynee rose above this challenge and went full out for a year and season of recovery! 
Destira Star Laynee competing with her special belt to protect her back, Destira, 2024Laynee competing with her support belt on her lower back.
In September, Laynee was cleared by her doctor and was back in the gym. She lost a lot of her endurance and strength during her recovery, but she worked hard each practice and was able to compete level 3 again the next season with her sister. Even though she lost strength and endurance during her recovery, Laynee said that her skills felt tighter and more powerful when she was back in the gym. She spent many practices working hard to re-perfect each skill again.
The break from gymnastics while recovering showed Laynee how much she loves gymnastics. She came back more determined and ready to go. She was able to appreciate how much she loved gymnastics and how much she wanted to be there. She was able to make every single second count. 
When asked what Rise Above means to Laynee, she says “It means to rise above the challenges you face and push through all of the hard work. In the end, it is worth it and it will help you a lot.” 
Laynee Smith in her Destira Rise Above gymnastics leotard, 2024

Laynee, thank you for telling us your story of rising above one of the biggest challenges of your life. We look forward to cheering you on through your gymnastics journey!

The Destira Rise Above leotard represents rising above any challenge you face. Shop the Rise Above leotard today. Do you have a story about rising above a challenge in your life - inside the gym or outside the gym? Email us at to share your story!