SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Two-time Olympian Tasha Danvers has a boundless exuberance that is contagious. Students and faculty at 49th Street Elementary School can attest to that.

Danvers’ youthful appearance belies the 40 years she has been on this earth.

The former USC track and field star bounces and prances around the unforgiving cement pavement at the school like someone half her age as she barks out instructions to her wide-eyed, eager pupils. The fifth-grade students adapt to Danvers’ high energy as she whips them into the motion of physical activity.

She starts them off with two warm-up laps. Then it’s down to the business of doing fluid stretching before they engage in other exercise activities.

“This kind of thing I’ve done since I can remember, working with kids,” Danvers said. “I particularly have a love for this age group because they’re still so eager to learn and have fun, and I’m a big kid myself. I am originally...

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