Metropolitan Gymnastics has a strong and supportive international coaching staff – Russian, Chinese, American – that balances technique with artistry, individual with team success, professionalism with a family feel, and hard work with fun. We blend our varied expertise as former gymnasts, professional coaches, and certified judges to create a powerful competitive team program with and provide leadership for our recreational programs.
WOMEN’S JUNIOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COACHES:
Coach Yulia is a co-owner of the gym as well as the Women’s Team head coach. She grew up in the Soviet Union and started gymnastics at age 5. Coming from an artistic family, she trained at the school of Olympic Reserves in Scherbinka, just outside Moscow. She learned here both as a student, and later as a coach. Yulia was on the USSR National Power Tumbling team and was Pan-European champion twice in a row. She continued her life in sport by taking a Sports Medicine degree at Moscow State University. She has over 30 years of coaching experience in gymnastics acrobatics, and dance. Over the years she has developed many State and Regional and Western National Champions. She is also ranked as a national USA choreographer. When she is not hosting local, state, and regional meets, she has an active acting career as a member of the Screen Actors Guild. You can also find her cheering on her daughter as an outstanding competitive ballroom dancer.
Coach Guennadi is a co-owner of Metropolitan Gymnastics and is the Optional Girls Uneven Bars and Vault coach. Guennadi graduated from the Belorussian State Institute of Physical Culture in 1984. He has coached National Russian Team Members, Poland’s Girls National Team, and took his team from Colorado to the National Elite Competition in 1996. When not climbing exceptionally high ladders to add neon lights to the American flag that light up at march-in of meets, Guennadi can be found in the amazing bar training area he designed and adds to on a regular basis.
Cathy was inducted into the Washington State Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2014. She has been coaching level 2 through Elite gymnastics in the Northwest for over 30 years and has coached 6 gymnasts to the National Training Team. She started gymnastics at the age of 15 at which time her coach immediately started her coaching the younger team members. 3 years later she received a full gymnastics scholarship to the University of Washington. Cathy Coached Newport high school to two state championships before joining Metropolitan gymnastics. Coach Cathy’s specialty at the optional level is the balance beam. “I love the coach/athlete relationships that are developed over years and watching girls progress. In addition to learning to be competitive gymnasts, I want them to learn that the benefits of gymnastics are so extraordinary. With their gymnastics career behind them, their discipline and work ethic instills confidence (especially for young women) that they can go and do anything. This is something important to treasure.” Cathy is an award-winning aerialist, has a daughter who is a singer and her family has created a festival in which they perform together nationally and internationally.
Elia brought nearly 10 years of coaching experience to Metropolitan when she joined our coaching staff in July of 2020. Coach Elia was a competitive gymnast in California for 12 years and is certified as a women’s judge. In addition to being a choreographer, she is a certified personal trainer. Her goal is to be a positive role model for young girls in the sport. She cares about teaching good gymnastics and her priority is to help her athletes to be good people and learn how to function in the world around them outside of the gym. “I believe that kids need adults besides their parents to look up to and I enjoy being one of those people.” Coach Elia advocates for kids to understand and take control of their own gymnastics experience and focuses on teaching the sport as a whole, and not simply individual skills. She wants each athlete to have a clear path while recognizing that her ultimate destination is unique.
Vanessa came to Metropolitan from Northern California. She is the compulsory girls Technical Director and coaches Levels 2-7. Vanessa has been coaching for over 15 years and judging for over 5. She has served as a clinician at Region 1 camps. In addition, Vanessa’s background in ballet is an important asset for our developing gymnasts. She firmly believes that gymnastics teaches transferable life skills including honesty, hard work, accountability, and integrity. These skills are as important, if not more important, than the technical skills in the sport.
Compulsory Team Coach: Aimee Hentschell
Aimee recently joined the Metropolitan coaching staff and works with Pre-TOPS and Levels 2-4.
Maryanna started gymnastics at the age of 3 as a Metropolitan gymnast. She competed for us for 13 years before competing at Seattle Pacific University. In addition to coordinating and coaching our Level 1 girls, Maryanna coaches all levels of the Boys’ Club Team and continues to rock out in our recreational program as well.
MEN’S JUNIOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COACHES
Men’s Team Head Coach: Max Soifer
Men’s Program Director/ Lv 6 & 8 Coach: Eli Richardson
Corey is the head coach of our compulsory boy’s program. He also runs our Pre-Team program for boys. Corey joined Metropolitan in the midst of the pandemic and brings his expertise in the development of young athletes. Corey is also in charge of our Future Stars program.
Coach Jocelyn is a former collegiate gymnast (University of Pennsylvania) and brings her gymnastics knowledge and experience to her role as assistant Level 4 Coach. Coach Jocelyn is the parent of two gymnasts and provides a bridge for parents and athletes entering the competitive arena.
WOMEN’S XCEL COACHES:
Shirlene is a former High School gymnast and a graduate of the University of Washington. After graduation, she taught High School business classes and was also a dance instructor at a dance studio. Shirlene started coaching at Metropolitan Gymnastics in 2000 as a coach and then director of the compulsory team. She is now the director and head coach of Metropolitan’s highly successful Xcel team. Her goal for the program is to keep growing, improving, and having fun. Not only are her athletes “having fun” they regularly qualify and medal at State, Regionals, and Nationals.
XCEL Jr. Coach: Alia Near
MEN’S CLUB TEAM COACHES:
Maryanna coaches all levels of the Boys’ Club Team. She started gymnastics at the age of 3 as a Metropolitan gymnast, competing as a JO gymnast for 13 years before competing at Seattle Pacific University. In addition to coordinating and coaching our Level 1 girls, Maryanna continues to rock out in our recreational program as well.
METROPOLITAN TEAM ADMINISTRATORS:
Kyoko is the heart of the front office and manager extraordinaire. She has been with Metropolitan since her daughters MaryAnna and Kristina started with the gym over 15 years ago. In addition to serving as our office manager, she also organizes and runs awards, coordinates volunteers, and manages other responsibilities for both girls’ and boys’ meets.
Karen has returned to Metropolitan as the administrator for the Teams programs and serves as the USAG Safety Champion. She brings with her 20+ years of experience as a men’s coach and judge combined with her 30+ years career as a professor of Communication and educational consultant. Karen continues to serve the men’s gymnastics community through the Iron Cross Foundation and as a member of the WGJA board.