Training the next generation of 10s

Former national gymnastics champion Raven Magwood continues Olympic couple’s legacy

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At 11, Raven Magwood won a national gymnastics championship. At 12, she published her first book. At 18, she graduated from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University. And at 23, Magwood will open her first gymnasium.

A passion for teaching

Despite all of the academic accolades Magwood achieved at Greenville Technical Charter High School and Clemson University, she isn’t too fond of the classroom.

“I hate school,” she said.

She’d much rather teach others herself. With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, Magwood hopes to inspire the next generation of gymnasts. She has dedicated herself to empowering and training local gymnasts through a variety of business ventures.

“All gymnasts strive to achieve a 10 — a perfect score,” she explained.

She owns a jewelry line called I AM A TEN to share this message, and now she has bought a Spartanburg gymnasium to help girls achieve those goals.

An aging coach’s offer

In 1993, Anatoly Kozeev, a former head coach of the Junior National and Olympic teams of the Soviet Union from 1975 to 1990, opened Kozeev’s World of Gymnastics on the west side of Spartanburg. His late wife and business partner, Tamara, helped future gymnastics champion Raven Magwood with the beam routine that would go on to earn her many awards.

Three years ago, Magwood accepted a coaching position at Kozeev’s as a favor for a friend who was moving out of town. What started out as a short-term gig soon became a long-term commitment, much to Magwood’s surprise. She forged strong friendships with the gymnasts and helped uplift those that were struggling. “I can’t just leave them now,” she said.

In April, Kozeev approached Magwood and offered his gym to her at a price she couldn’t refuse.  “He doesn’t just trust people like that,” Raven said. She is honored to have such a strong bond with a man who has coached Olympic champions like 1990 winner Svetlana Boginskaya. “He’s seen the best of the best,” she said.

Kozeev is notorious for being a stern, tight-lipped man, but Magwood sees him in a more endearing light. “He is my Russian grandpa,” she joked.

Coincidentally, Magwood’s mother, Chondra, sold a lucrative property in downtown Greenville this spring, and held the money in a 1031 exchange. Her mother had a 30 to 45 day window to invest the money, but had no idea what to do with it.

With Kozeev’s offer still on the table, Magwood knew exactly what to do with the money. “It was fate,” she said.

With her mother’s guidance and financial investment, she bought Kozeev’s World of Gymnastics in April. By May 30, the deal was closed, and by June 1, Magwood took over Kozeev’s legacy and renamed it Sparkle City Gymnastics.

Old is gold, but new is bold

Magwood plans to maintain Kozeev’s no-nonsense style of training while also modernizing the new gym. She has already unveiled a new and improved website, where parents can pay fees online. She has also started rebranding the gym, with new signs, brochures and flyers.  Architectural renovations are also in the works, and the bathrooms were just recently redone.  “We are bringing the gym to a new, innovative stage,” she said.

Turning around a gym is no small order, Magwood confessed. “We may have bit off a little more than we could chew, but we are chewing it,” she said. Sparkle City Gymnastics will have its official opening in August.

For more information, visit sparklecitygymnastics.com/.

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