MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two Minnesota gymnasts are among a small elite competing against the world’s best in Italy this weekend.

Maggie Nichols and Olivia Trautman train at Twin City Twisters in Champlin. They are part of Team USA competing in the City of Jesolo Trophy, along with three Gold medal Olympians.

Every day at Twin Cities Twisters the drive, desire and work ethic is apparent in the gymnasts who train there.

“Every kid that comes through our door, we try to get as much out of them as we can,” owner Mike Hunger said.

Two of the elite gymnasts are gaining international attention. They are already in Italy preparing to compete against the top in the world. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Nichols of Little Canada is on the senior squad, in her third year competing. A newcomer to the junior team is Champlin’s Olivia Trautman.

“It just makes me so happy,” Gracie Cherrey said.

Cherrey trains with them daily and sees the sacrifices they make to reach this level.

“They work hard every day, they come in with a positive attitude,” Cherrey said. “They have that talent, but they also have that drive, and that’s what gets them to where they are.”

The 16-member USA team includes three 2012 Olympic Gold Medalists, including Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross.

Abby Paulson believes having two of their members on the team says a lot about where they train.

“It says that we can achieve a lot of great things here at this gym, with the coaches and the atmosphere,” Paulson said.

And in this competition and down the road, Nichols and Trautman are two talented Minnesotans to watch.

“If it was an Olympic year, these are probably the group of kids that would be at Olympic trials,” Hunger said.

Last year, Maggie won Bronze in the same competition. She and Olivia are Olympic hopefuls.

For more information, visit the USA Gymnastics website. The Italian Gymnastics Federation will show a live video stream of the competition on its YouTube channel.

Jennifer Mayerle