Jaycie Phelps
Jaycie Phelps
Jaycie Phelps and her aspiring gymnasts at the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center in Indiana.
Company: Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center
Olympic achievement: Gold medal for women's team competition in gymnastics, 1996

What started as a dinner conversation turned into Jaycie Phelps's business.

The gymnast said she never thought about starting her own business. In 2009, she was home in Indiana for Christmas when she started talking with her dad and her boyfriend about opening a gym. After that conversation, her father started seriously scouting possible locations.

The trio opened the athletic center in August 2010. "It actually was a really quick turnaround from an idea to actually making it happen," Phelps said.

Within two years, the Indiana gym has grown from five employees to a dozen, and it trains more than 400 kids in gymnastics, cheer tumbling, baseball and softball. The students, who can be as young as 18 months, range from those who are just learning the sport to those who participate on competitive teams.

Phelps coaches the gymnastics team, while her father, Jack, coaches baseball and softball. Though her boyfriend and co-founder Dave Marus also helps coach the gymnasts, Phelps says he is "the brains behind the business."

"It's stressful, but at the same time there's just a feeling of comfort knowing that you're doing it with family," the gold medalist said.

The skills from her gymnastics training and competing help her to be successful as a small-business owner. "It's a completely different thing, but there's so many things I learned from being an athlete that helped me in business," Phelps said. "The only risk is not taking the risk. You've got to take that step."


- Last updated August 03 2012 11:42 AM ET
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