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Fans make travel plans to watch Minnesota gymnasts at Olympic trials

Two sisters are flying to St. Louis to watch Minnesotans Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum compete for spots on the U.S. women's gymnastics team.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. — As three Minnesota gymnasts prepare for their shot at the Summer Olympic Games, sisters Emily Hogan and Meghan Johnson are packing their bags. This weekend, Team USA gymnastics trials will be held in St. Louis. Hogan and Johnson plan to be there with their mom.

"We coach together for Hopkins High School and then we judge for the high school league, and so we're just big fans of the sport," Hogan said. "We've been involved our whole lives."

In addition to cheering for Simone Biles, they'll be watching to see how Minnesotans Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum perform.

"We're really excited to see the best of the best compete," Hogan said.

Credit: KARE 11
Coaches Emily Hogan and Meghan Johnson pose with Hopkins gymnastics team.

In total, six women will represent the U.S. in Tokyo. Four of them will compete as a team and two of them will compete as individuals.

If Lee and McCallum beat out the competition this weekend, they'll become the first Minnesotans make the U.S. women's gymnastics team since St. Paul's Kolleen Casey qualified for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

"Both Grace and Suni have been on the world teams but they haven't made it to the Olympic team yet," Johnson said. 

The same can't be said for Minnesota men. Still, the sisters are rooting for Shane Wiskus, a local guy who is also going for gold this year. From Lee's outstanding skills on the uneven bars to McCallum's reliable excellence across all events, they believe all three Minnesotans have a good shot at making it to Tokyo.

At one point, Johnson thought she would be in Tokyo, too.

"I actually went to Rio in 2016," she said. "I was a volunteer there. So I applied again to go to Tokyo for 2020 and I got accepted to volunteer in the gymnastics arena."

Credit: KARE 11
Meghan Johnson volunteered at the Rio 2016 Olympics but will not volunteer in Tokyo due to COVID restrictions.

But then COVID hit and the Games were postponed. She figures their upcoming girls trip is the next best thing.

"Unfortunately they're not allowing international volunteers to come, so I decided, let's go to St. Louis and support them that way," Johnson said.

Hogan shared a message for the Olympic hopefuls. 

"We love you, we support you, we're so excited for you," she said. "No matter what, we're proud of you and we wish you the best of luck from all your fans in Minnesota."

RELATED: St. Paul's Sunisa Lee finished 2nd behind Simone Biles at U.S. Gymnastics Championship

RELATED: Seven for Simone: Biles claims another US Gymnastics title

RELATED: Minnesota native Shane Wiskus looks to make Olympics gymnastics team