10 minutes with: Carly Patterson (USA)


Full Twist contributor Anna Rose Johnson caught up with Carly Patterson Caldwell to discuss her Olympic experience, favorite competition memories, and what her life is like now.

Carly is the 2004 Olympic All-Around Champion, and the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic All-Around at a fully attended Games. She also won silver medals with her U.S. team and on the balance beam at the 2004 Olympics. Additionally, Carly won the team gold and the all-around silver at the 2003 World Championships. The USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame member was recently honored at the P&G Championships with her Olympic teammates.


FT: What have you been up to lately?

CPC: I finally graduated college from Texas Woman’s University this past May. Getting my college degree was a big goal I had for myself. It is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders now and I can finally focus on doing things other than school! I work with USA Gymnastics throughout the year promoting gymnastics and our big events and that is always fun. I have started doing some motivational speaking and would like to continue doing that. And other than that, I’ve been loving married life, being a housewife, cooking and traveling with my husband Mark. Maybe even some kiddos in our future;)


FT: What was your favorite skill to compete?

CPC: Definitely my beam dismount “The Patterson”, which is a round-off back-handspring into a double Arabian. It was my favorite because of how hard it is and I was the only one doing it, so when I landed it in competition it was the best feeling.


FT: It’s the tenth anniversary of your gold medal in Athens; what stands out in your mind the most from that experience?

 CPC: I think the obvious answer is winning the gold medal in the all-around competition! That is the most prestigious medal you can win as a gymnast and it is what every little girl dreams of. I was barely 16 years old and I definitely didn’t understand the bigness of what I had just done. I was just doing what I loved and luckily everything came together that night. I wish I could go back and relive the moment because it goes by so fast. Kind of like your wedding! Winning team silver and silver on beam were also both highlights. I think some of the coolest moments for me were the nights walking onto the Olympic stage with USA on my back and in my heart knowing I was representing our country and so proud to do so. I wanted to do my best and make everyone proud.


FT: What are some of your favorite memories from competition?

CPC: The older I get the more I appreciate everything I have accomplished and all the wonderful memories that come along with it. I had some great teammates that I trained with every day and we are still very close to this day. We had so many great days in the gym together as well as traveling to other countries getting to compete for our country. We will get together now and laugh so hard about ordering chicken noodle soup in China and they brought out some weird soup that had seahorses and some other unidentifiable items in it. There are way too many good memories to choose from! I think we all look back now and are so thankful for the love and support we got from our coaches and the positive atmosphere they created for us every day to become the best individuals we could be.


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

CPC: I don’t have typical days. It all just depends, I could be out of town working doing a speaking engagement or appearance or I could be at home being a housewife, cleaning and cooking and spending time with my family. Every morning I am home I start my day off working out at Orange Theory Fitness in Plano!


FT: Have you ever considered becoming a gymnastics coach?

CPC: I have thought about it before, but I’ve never had a strong tug on my heart that that is what I want to do. I really had the passion for being a gymnast, but that doesn’t always translate into the same passion for being a coach.


FT: If you were going to change anything about gymnastics, what would you change?

CPC: Gymnastics is always changing in some way! I think I would change the scoring system back to the famous 10. I feel like people are able to understand that better.

 Special thanks to Carly for chatting with Full Twist!

Image via Carly Patterson.

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