GAGE ; GEORGIA
Did you think about competing in college when you were
training at Great American Gym Express (GAGE)? I don’t
know when I first started thinking about going to college and
competing at this level, but I do know making the choice to
come to Georgia was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever
How is training different at the college level from the club
level? College really changed my perspective and my approach
to gymnastics. In club gymnastics the Olympics always called.
But something happened when I first visited the University of
Georgia. My mom and I were walking around and … I felt this
immediate sense of home. I felt like this is exactly where I was
supposed to be. I still feel that way. The college experience has
made me a better person as well as a better gymnast. I’ve
grown as a leader. I’ve grown in my faith. I’ve grown in my
What was the most surprising thing for you about competing
in college? I think it was in my sophomore year when I first
truly felt comfortable and really “got” the whole college gymnastics picture. Sophomore year was when I truly understood
that it is all about the team and your teammates. It took some
getting used to, but I remember thinking, This is how it is supposed to be. This is what this sport is supposed to feel like
and be like. We all support each other in a way that is just an
In 2008 Courtney Kupets [injured] her Achilles’ tendon. But
here she was, in the gym every single day, mentoring us and
supporting us at every workout. I saw that and learned so much
from her. So my sophomore year was when I got that feeling
of being as excited about one of your teammates hitting a routine or getting a new dismount as if it happened to yourself.
The level of unconditional support in the gym strengthens you
in a way that is hard to describe. It is an incredible blessing and
something I’ll have with me for the rest of my life.
The level of
support in the
you in a way that
is hard to
Will you stay involved with gymnastics? Starting in August I’ll
be a volunteer member of the gymnastics operations staff. I’ll
learn more about the aspects of running a college gymnastics
program, and work on enhancing my choreography skills.
Right now all I can think about is that I am so happy to have
had these experiences. I got to end my gymnastics career
tonight on my favorite event and I did a great competitive routine. It’s amazing to feel the support here, the support I’ve had from my team and my coaches and also from my friends and
family. At the [NCAA] individual event finals, it was very emotional for me to look up and see
my boyfriend in the stands. He drove down to watch me compete—he drove all this way just to
support me for one beam routine. I feel so blessed.
I want to stay involved with gymnastics until I am 95, at least! Until the day I die, this is what
I want to do. But there is so much more than just teaching new skills. It’s about the leadership.
It’s about mentoring younger gymnasts. It’s about so much more than the sport and learning
skills. It is just as important to teach and coach about life outside the gym. I want to help as
much as I can.
What would you tell a club gymnast who is focused on making the Olympics? There is so
much more out there. I couldn’t see it when I was younger, but believe me, there is so much
more to experience.