Meet Beacon, the Golden Retriever Who Had an Important Role at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials

The therapy dog was on hand at the trials to support gymnasts and other members of the USA Gymnastics team at the Minneapolis events

<p>Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram</p> Beacon the USAG therapy dog

Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram

Beacon the USAG therapy dog
  • Beacon, the golden retriever therapy dog, was on hand to offer support to anyone who needed it at the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials

  • "Proud doesn't even scratch the surface of how I feel," the pup's handler, Tracey Callahan Molnar, said in an Instagram post about the dog's performance at the event

  • USA Gymnastics told PEOPLE they are working to get Beacon to the 2024 Olympics

The talented men and women of USA Gymnastics (USAG) had someone special on hand to provide support during the recent U.S. Gymnastics Olympic trials ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Four-year-old golden retriever Beacon is USAG's first therapy dog—he even received his own credentials for the trials. USAG hired him part-time to comfort gymnasts and staff. Beacon's role was vital during the trials in Minneapolis, where gymnasts competed for a spot on Team USA for the Paris Olympics.

Beacon, who holds the USAG team's "Goodest Boy" title, attended the trials, which ran June 27-30, with his handler Tracey Callahan Molnar, who has had Beacon since he was a puppy, per ESPN. The outlet stated the pup was Callahan Molnar's service animal before she had him certified as a therapy dog through Pet Partners.

<p>Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram</p> Beacon the golden retriever therapy dog

Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram

Beacon the golden retriever therapy dog

Related: The Most Amazing Olympic Medal Moments from the Past 50 Years

Callahan Molnar told ESPN how Beacon's presence makes a difference: "Science shows petting a dog or even watching someone pet a dog, can lower blood pressure and anxiety, help increase the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, and lower cortisol levels."

The former gymnast and coach added that, unsurprisingly, Beacon's presence is much appreciated at events like the trials.

"Everyone wants to say hi, and he wants to say hi to them. It takes 20 minutes to get ... not very far," Callahan Molnar said.

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<p>Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram</p> Beacon the therapy dog

Golden Dog Beacon/Instagram

Beacon the therapy dog

Beacon is so beloved that one gymnast suggested he get a promotion. "One of the gymnasts suggested [Beacon] should be the CHO," Callahan Molnar told NEXSTAR. "That would be the Chief Happiness Officer."

While U.S. sports fans now know which gymnasts will represent America in the Paris Olympics, it is unclear whether Beacon will join them in France.

"We are looking into if he can go to Paris. As you can imagine, it's a bit complicated," a USAG representative shared in a statement to PEOPLE.

The Team USA men's gymnastics team was chosen at the end of their qualifying trials on Saturday, with Fred Richard and Brody Malone leading the group. Meanwhile, the women's competition wrapped up on Sunday with Simone Biles and Suni Lee among those making the Team USA squad.

Callahan Molnar shared an emotional message on Beacon's Instagram alongside a montage of pictures and videos at the conclusion of the trials.

Related: Simone Biles Is Ready for Paris 'Redemption Tour' and Has a Message for Critics Who 'Want to See Us Fail'

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"So many feels here. It is a great privilege for Beacon and me to spend time with and support these amazing gymnasts and their coaches—each and every one of them. We have a front-row seat to witnessing their commitment to excellence and collaborative efforts to get there," the post read.

"I am proud that USA Gymnastics has brought pet therapy to the sport, and not just brought it—but truly embraced and supported it. My gratitude is big! And Beacon? Proud doesn’t even scratch the surface of how I feel. Whether these gymnasts made/make the 2024 US Olympic team or not- this is TEAM USA and we are honored to be a part," the message concluded.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit and come to to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

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