Sisters thrive inside local gym

By Doug Gorman

There's an old clich? which states, the family that plays together, stays together.

That could easily define Mark and Denise Jordan and their daughters Savannah and Danielle.

The Jordans purchased The Ultimate Dream Academy in McDonough in April with one thing in mind?training area gymnasts, cheerleaders, and martial arts students to be championship-caliber athletes and pursue their dreams.

Even before buying the facility, the Jordan's precocious daughters were well on the way to achieving success in their sports.

Savannah, 8, competes in tae-kwon-do, and Danielle, 10, in gymnastics.

Both girls' sports careers have taken a winding path.

After also studying ballet and quitting gymnastics for a year, Danielle began participating in gymnastics on a competitive basis while the family was living in Mississippi.

Savannah also briefly quit tae-kwon do, but resumed her training after finding a facility in Fayette County.

Now, both sisters train at the facility owned by the their parents. Both have also become very good in their sport.

Savannah recently won a gold medal at the state in ta-kwon-do, while Danielle was third in gymnastics.

Danielle also earned a spot on the Regional 8 Georgia team.

The young gymnast earned one of seven spots after competing against 79 other athletes.

Team Georgia won the regional title in Baton Rouge. It was the first time in nearly a decade, the team from Georgia has captured the title.

Danielle also took first in the bars. Danielle is rapidly progressing up the gymnastics ladder and will move to level nine where she will be eligible for national competition.

Danielle also attended the Talented Opportunity Program in Houston run by Bela Karoli, the famous gymnastic coach who has been responsible for developing the careers of gold medallist Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller.

"He (Karoli) didn't coach us, but we all got to meet him," Danielle said. "That was kind of cool."

"Most of these kids are the ones we are looking for to earn a spot in the 2008 or 2012 Olympics," said Mark Jordan.

During her last trip to the T.O.P.S Program, Danielle stayed in a cabin that once housed future Olympian Shannon Miller.

Danielle is on a quest to make it back to the T.O.P.S. program again this year when she competes this weekend in a meet in Moorseville, North Carolina.

Because the two sisters don't compete in the same sport, there are no problems with sibling rivalry.

"We definitely have two different personalities," said their father Mark.

But there's also very little chance that the two girls are going to switch roles.

"I did gymnastics until I was five or six, but I decided I didn't like it," said Savannah.

Danielle made it to yellow belt in tae-kwon-do, then decided to stick with gymnastics.

Although Danielle hopes her gymnastic career leads her to international stardom, Savannah's goal is outside the tae-kwon do venue.

"I want to be the first girl Navy Seal," she said.

Savannah has an extensive collection of military memorabilia and is a fan of the movie GI Jane.

Both girls are home-schooled and excel in their studies.

"We let them find a sport that they love," said Mark. "We support them. We just love to be in a sporting atmosphere.

Denise Jordan is also proud of her daughters.

"We are extremely excited about what they have been able to accomplish," she said. "We have two other younger girls who are following right behind them."

Master Instructor Eid Koja, who coaches Savannah in tae-kwon-do and Wayne Boyd, a former coach at Penn State, who coaches Danielle, both see bright days ahead for their students.

"Danielle has a lot of raw talent," Boyd said. "She is able to pick up a skill and go from there."

"Savannah has so much heart, you can't break her down," said Koja.