For some people, the video of a Colorado high school cheerleader being forced into a split is hard to watch.
As Denver police investigate the incident that happened at East High School in June, one Bonaire gym is speaking out about the correct way for cheerleaders and gymnasts to stretch.
Owner and head coach of Punch Front Gym, Chrystie McIlwain, says when she saw the video of the high school cheerleader being forced into a split, she was in shock.
"Listening to the cries was pretty heartbreaking," says McIlwain. "They should never ever be forced into a stretch, they should always do it at their own pace, and little is always better."
McIlwain says her gymnasts stretch at the beginning and end of practice, and her coaching staff never forces the athletes into any positions.
"Every time I come here we slowly progress into getting our splits. It's not like, 'Ughh, get in your split,' or push you or something," says gymnast Joy Whittington.
"They might be tough on us to help us get our splits back down, but they don't forcefully push us down to where it's going to hurt us," says gymnast Annalise Sexton.
Some of the young Punch Front gymnasts also saw the viral video online and say it was painful to watch.
"I would never want to be hurt like that, and our coaches never do that to us, they just help us," says gymnast Brooke Lengevin.
"It just makes me sad to think about it because her legs and stuff are messed up, and it was just horrible," says Whittington.
The young ladies say it took them months to become flexible. It's a process, and everyone's body is different.
"We always say if it's going to create tears, stop," says McIlwain.
McIlwain says stretching is vital to an athlete's success and should always be done properly.
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