Perspectives from ISB

Just like in any sport, gymnasts need a place to train. However, these places require a monthly payment for training, competing and much more.

For MaJe Lee, University of Utah gymnast Kari Lee’s mother, instead of writing that check every month for her five kids, it made more sense just to run a gym herself. But it wasn’t without difficulty.

For over 11 years, the Flames Gymnastics Academy has been a major part of MaJe and her family’s life. For Kari, it’s the gym she trained at for most of her career — and she has been a part of it since her parents took over the gym.

Owning a business can be tricky though, and many business owners can’t make it. Taking the core business classes for her major at the U has opened Kari’s eyes to different elements of the business world, and it has taught her how to run a business successfully.

“Stuff like that with technology and everything, it can make things a lot better,” Kari said. “Also with how recruiting has been so huge in gymnastics — they start recruiting at a young age — technology helps put videos together, so doing stuff like that for the younger generation is a big thing.”

Kari hopes that one day she can take her parents’ place in running the gym herself. Right now, Kari’s oldest brother runs the second gym they opened a few years ago, her second brother is an assistant coach to her long-time coach and her sister is the women’s coach.

“I definitely have that in my future, hopefully,” Kari said. “I’m getting my degree in business and communication, so I’m trying to learn about the business side of things so I can help bring new things to the table when I go back.”

MaJe’s goal for the gym is to train, progress and get athletes ready for competition. According to MaJe, some people didn’t like that, because they didn’t want their kids to be Olympians, but her philosophy is if they are going to do it, they are going do it right.

Source: White, Emilee, February 8, 2017,