10 Minutes with: Aliya Protto (USA)


Full Twist contributor Anna Rose Johnson recently caught up with Aliya Protto to discuss her training, the Pacific Rim Championships, and her goals in gymnastics.

Aliya Protto is one of the top U.S. rhythmic gymnasts. She trains at California Rhythms with her coaches Tatyana Itkina and Iryna Zhurenko. At the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships in April, Aliya helped win the team gold medal and tied for the hoop gold. She also won silvers in the all-around and in ball, along with ribbon and club bronze medals.

The resident of Culver City, California placed fourth in the all-around at the 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships in July, and also placed fourth in clubs.

FT: How has your training been going?

AP: My training has been going very well. I have been working very hard for the upcoming season, and focusing on the areas in which I can improve.


FT: What was it like to win team gold at the Pan American Championships?

AP: Winning the team award was such an amazing experience! It was awesome standing on the first place podium, with my USA teammates, as we heard our national anthem play. I was very happy to have had the opportunity to help and contribute towards the team award.


FT: You had an amazing competition at the Pacific Rim Championships in April, can you reflect on your experiences from that meet?

AP: Pacific Rim was another awesome experience I have had this year. That was my first time ever competing in a team event, and ever winning a team award. I was extremely with happy how I did in the individual all-around and finals as well. It was exciting to tie for first place in hoop, and medal in the other event finals. The experience was great and I really enjoyed competing there, and it was cool being able to watch the other disciplines compete. It was also really nice having the media there covering the Rhythmic event, since we often don’t get much exposure.


FT: What are your goals in gymnastics for the future?

AP: I definitely have goals to compete in World Championships and hopefully compete in the Olympics one day. However, my main and most important goal is to reach my maximum potential as a gymnast, and to push myself to be the best I am capable of being.


FT: Are you working on any new skills for this fall? 

AP: Yes, I am currently working on new tosses and equipment handlings for the upcoming season. Also I just returned from Russia where I got both a new hoop and clubs routine and reworked ball and ribbon.


FT: What’s a typical day like for you?

AP: On a typical day, I wake up, study my academic courses for my online college, get ready for gym, train for about 5 hours, then go home to eat and study some more until I am tired.


FT: What is your favorite event to compete?

AP: My favorite event is always changing depending on my mood, or based on how the routine is choreographed. Every event has something I love about it.


Many thanks to Aliya for chatting with Full Twist! 

Photo by: Richard Merlen


  1. soophil Ponce de Leon says:

    Very awesome Aliya.. so proud of you.

  2. soophil Ponce de Leon says:

    Awesomw..you rock Aliya.. so proud of you.

  3. Sophia Ponce de Leon says:

    Awesomw..you rock Aliya.. so proud of you.

  4. Julie Cohen says:

    We’ve known Aliya since she was a little toddler. She and my daughter went to the same nanny. Aliya is a very talented, determined, intelligent, beautiful and persistent young gymnast and she will continue to stack up the well-deserved medals. Go Aliya! We are so proud of you!

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