Elite and NCAA Gymnast Training Updates—Part 14


Full Twist contributor Anna Rose Johnson recently caught up with some elite, Level 10, and NCAA gymnasts to discuss their training, future goals, and more.

Christina Desiderio, Gianna Gerdes, Taylor Graham, Georgina Hockenhull, Taylor Keough, Erin Jauch, Jasmine Johnson, Jenny Kaufman, Kristle Lowell, Anna Pavlova, Simone Penker, Catalina Ponor, Phoebe Pummarachai, Olivia Vivian, and Becky Wing provided us with thoughtful insights into their training.



Christina Desiderio is a U.S. junior elite artistic gymnast from Parkettes Gymnastics in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At the 2014 P&G Championships, she placed 18th in the all-around. “My training has been going really well,” Christina told Full Twist. “I’m so excited to compete.”

Christina shared her gymnastics goals with us: “My short-term goals are to make the national team and compete for USA! My long-term goals are the Olympics and then college gymnastics.” She also gave us a quick rundown on some of her upgrades for 2015: “I am currently working on a double-double and [a] Biles on floor, a standing full on beam, [and a] Maloney, endo and inbar [skills] on bars.”

At the 2015 Parkettes Invitational, Christina placed second in the all-around with a 37.950. “I love that meet because it’s one my friends and extended family can come to,” she noted.

Christina added, “I’d just like to say that I’m looking forward to this next elite season.”



            Gianna Gerdes is a U.S. HOPES elite gymnast who trains at Gym-Xtreme Gymnastics in Lewis Center, Ohio. She competed at the 2014 Level 10 Regionals, and won floor exercise at the 2013 Level 9 Regionals. “[My training has been] good,” Gianna told Full Twist. “I have been working hard on my elite and Level 10 routines, especially my new floor routine.”

The 12-year-old told us her gymnastics goals: “Short-term—qualify HOPES elite and Level 10 Nationals. Long-term—qualify to the National Team and the Olympics.” At the recent Buckeye Classic, Gianna qualified to the HOPES Classic in May.

Gianna has already competed in several competitions this year, and she has a lot of new skills in the works. “[This year] I hope to compete a Gienger on bars, yurchenko full on vault, and triple full on floor,” she explained. “I may try to work in my sheep jump on beam, too.”

Gianna wanted to tell the Full Twist readers, “I am excited that meet season has begun and thank you for supporting me!”



Taylor Graham is a U.S. Level 10 artistic gymnast from Stars Gymnastics in Houston, Texas. At the 2014 Western Championships, she placed 12th in the all-around and ninth on floor exercise. “My training is going well,” Taylor told Full Twist. “I love training towards being a Level 10 gymnast! I am new to Level 10 this season. It is very humbling to train with the experienced 10’s and elites at our gym. They help and encourage me to do my best work. Defying gravity when I practice bars is my favorite time spent while training. Stars Gymnastics has so much to offer for training gymnastics, I love my coaches Dan and Ashly [Baker], and they complete the gymnast I want to be.”

On the subject of her gymnastics goals, Taylor remarked, “My short-term goals are to qualify for J.O. National Championships this season! My long-term goals are to gain a college scholarship and to hopefully have [the] opportunity to qualify elite. Qualifying for our national team before I go to college would be my biggest goal. Traveling to another country to represent USA Gymnastics would be fun.” She added, “For sure, once I become a strong level 10 gymnast I hope to get the chance to compete elite.”

Taylor has already competed three times this year. At her first two meets, she finished sixth in the all-around, and at the recent WOGA Classic, she won an all-around silver medal. Her competition schedule for 2015 can be found here: http://www.gym-style.com/taylorgraham/

The 13-year-old had some great advice to share. “Don’t get caught up in losing and winning, medals don’t define who you are,” said Taylor. “Always believe in yourself no matter what. Don’t let others crush your spirit. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on your goals. Hard work and dedication will help you reach your goals. Don’t be afraid to restructure your goals to reach successful heights. Enjoy and appreciate every day. Always remember who you are.”



Georgina Hockenhull is a senior elite artistic gymnast from Great Britain. She trains at Park Wrekin College School of Gymnastics and Dance. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she placed third with her Welsh team in the team final. “Since the Commonwealth Games last summer, it has been all go,” Georgina told Full Twist. “I competed in Barcelona at the Memorial Blume Competition during the middle of November and went on to compete at the World Cup in Glasgow. Over Christmas, I had a short break, and on my return it was straight back in the gym, working on getting some of my upgrades ready for the British Championships which will be taking place in March. Training is going very well at the moment, and with a number of competitions coming up, every minute counts!”

Georgina explained her short-term and long-term gymnastics goals. “The next few months are going to be really busy for me,” she noted. “I have set a lot of goals for myself so I’m constantly moving on. My main short-term goal would definitely be to increase my start values on all of the four pieces, also, with the British Championships coming up, maintaining my spot in the Great British squad will also be at the top of the list.” She added, “If you would’ve asked me this a year ago, I would have without a doubt said to get a spot in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, but with last year being such a successful year for me in my gymnastics career, I would definitely set my long-term goals high and aim for competing with Great Britain in the Rio Olympics.”

On the subject of debuting new skills this year, Georgina told us, “As I said earlier, I would like to increase my start values on all four pieces this year; my key focus would be to increase my vault score by upgrading to a double-twisting yurchenko, which will be a challenge, but something I have been interested in doing for a while.”

Georgina mentioned when her next competition will be: “In February I am travelling with the Welsh team to America to compete in the WOGA Classic in Texas,” she said. “It’s my first time competing in this competition, and I’m really looking forward to it, the experience will be incredible for me, and hopefully the outcome will be positive!”

When asked what she’d like to tell the readers, Georgina said, “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has given me such amazing support which I have received throughout the whole of my career, and still continue to receive. I owe a huge thank you to my coaches Christine Still and Brett Ince who have helped me through all my ups and downs in training and competitions. British Gymnastics have been absolutely incredible in every way possible, and I feel so grateful to be able to take part in such a fantastic sport!”



Taylor Keough is a U.S. Level 10 artistic gymnast from Phantom Gymnastics Center in New Hampshire. At the 2014 Region 6 Championships, she placed 15th in the all-around and 8thon floor exercise. Despite a recent injury, Taylor is planning many new skills to debut in 2015. “[I]m working: Jaeger on bars and blind full double back;  vault: yurchenko full; floor: double backs and front handspring double fronts; [and] beam: upgrading my series from aerial round-off to aerial aerial.”

Taylor, who is 17, described her gymnastics goals. “My long-term goals are competing for college and contributing to the team as much as I can; as well as learning new skills and having fun while doing it,” she explained. “And working extremely hard to make Level 10 Nationals. Before I got hurt, my short-term goals were to get my head ready for meet mode. Training under pressure, protecting my routines, and getting my head in the game. As well as still maintaining the skills I am still working.”

When asked if she might try elite gymnastics, Taylor replied, “I never really wanted to go elite. I wanted to concentrate on school and doing gymnastics in college. I have committed to the University of Brockport in NY as a Division III recruit. Elite is very hard and extremely time-consuming. I wanted a life but I also wanted to work hard and be in the gym and be the best Level 10 that I can be.”

Taylor shared some of her best advice with us. “Injuries and fears happen but it’s the time where you have to keep your head strong and make it happen. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Gymnastics doesn’t last your whole life, so make it count. If you’re afraid, come up with cue words that make the skill less scary. Have confidence in yourself. Go big or go home. Just get up and go for skills that you know you can do because the end satisfaction is 100 times better than the fear. In meets, smile and don’t let one mistake get you down, just brush it off and smile and keep going and learn from it. Best of luck to everyone. Stick it.”



Erin Jauch is a member of the U.S. senior T&T national team. She trains at Fox Valley Trampoline and Tumbling, and she is the reigning World double mini champion. “Training has been going great!” Erin told Full Twist. “After World Championships I took a few weeks off so my body could heal. When I got back to training I started with basics, and now I am back to doing some routines. My body feels great and training has all around been going very well.”

The three-time U.S. double mini champion explained her gymnastics goals. “My short-term gymnastics goal for this year is to have a successful competition season,” said Erin. “[At] this last World Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida, I accomplished my long term gymnastics goal: becoming a world champion. Now my long-term gymnastics goal is to become a 2-time, back-to-back world champion. I would also like to break the world record that I set at Worlds in Daytona Beach.”

Erin mentioned that her next competition will probably be in March, and that she plans to compete some new skills this year. “Although my routines for this season have not been set yet, I am working on some new skills and if I can perfect them by competition time, I will compete them.”

Erin added, “I would like to thank the Full Twist readers for all of their support! I hope that all the gymnasts have an awesome 2015 season!”



Jasmine Johnson is in her fifth year of NCAA gymnastics at Temple University in Philadelphia. At the 2014 ECAC Championships, she won the gold on floor exercise. “My training has been going well,” Jasmine told Full Twist. “As a 5th year, I understand that it is my last year to compete as a Division I gymnast, so every day I remind myself that it is important strive for excellence in practice so that I am ready to compete for my final season.”

Her final season has already begun; she and her teammates competed against Penn on February 7th, scoring a total of 192.15. “My goals for this season [are] to become ECAC floor champion for the 3rd time in my career at Temple [and] also I would love to qualify for NCAA [Championships] because that is one goal that I have been missing. Another goal that I have is for our team to win conference as almost every team in our conference has won.”

A former Level 10 competitor, Jasmine explained that she’s not going to be performing any new skills this year. “As a 5th year it is easier to perfect the routines that I have now,” she stated.

Jasmine also said, “What I would like to tell the Full Twist readers is to never give up on your goals. I didn’t think that I was going to be competing for an extra year of collegiate athletics knowing that I needed two surgeries. It is important to keep having goals in mind and to keep trying to reach for those goals because anything is possible.”



Jenny Kaufman is a senior competing in NCAA gymnastics at Southern Connecticut State University. She is a USA Gymnastics All-American Scholar-Athlete and is an ECAC All-Academic Team Member. “Training has been going well,” Jenny told Full Twist. “I’ve been training all four events, however I usually compete for floor and vault. The team and I have been training really hard during our preseason. Now that season is already here, we want to see our hard work pay off. I’m really excited for this season with my team because I know this has probably been the strongest team SCSU has had during the past three years I’ve been here. I think it is interesting to see how our team [has been] growing as a whole from when I just a freshman at Southern.”

Jenny started gymnastics at age three and later competed as a Level 10 gymnast at New Image Gymnastics. Now, she is one of SCSU’s four team captains for 2015. “My ultimate goal for this upcoming season is for our whole team to make nationals,” she told us. “Also I want our team to beat our team record! Last year as a junior it was my first time making nationals. I made it on two events, vault and floor. Competing as an individual for nationals and being in a group without your team…was very different. Even though the other teams are cheering for you, it’s not the same as when you hear your own team cheering and supporting you. From making nationals for the first time, that experience I will never forget. I had so much fun there. This 2015 season, I think my team definitely has potential to make nationals as a whole. It’s probably the strongest we’ve had in many years. My main goal is to make my last season the best one yet and to be healthy! I want my last season to be fun and exciting knowing it will be my last competition season ever.”

On the subject of new skills for 2015, Jenny noted, “The newest skill I’ve [been] working on to compete for season is on vault, which is the yurchenko layout full. It’s still quite new to me, however I started to work them last year when I was a junior. I competed them towards the middle of that year. That skill was one of my goals I had going into junior year. It took hard work and determination to get that skill back. I’ve never really competed it when I was still in my club gym (New Image) but I knew I was very capable of doing it. It was all in my head on how badly I wanted to reach my goal. For this 2015 season, as an individual goal for vault I want to try get to my personal record or even surpass it!”



Kristle Lowell is a member of the U.S. senior T&T national team. At the 2013 World Championships, she was the double mini individual and team champion. “I am currently recovering from an ankle injury,” Kristle told Full Twist. “Training has been going a little slow, but I have never been so determined. I am back to bouncing but cannot quite generate full speed on my run yet. I am conditioning and getting very strong. I recently had to change gyms. I am now being coached by Daniel McCarty and Rachel Rydbeck at R-Athletics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. R-Athletics is an artistic gymnastics gym that is starting a T&T program. It is absolutely fantastic that I get to train with such dedicated artistic gymnasts. Even with my injury I have been training four hours a day, six days a week. I have even started doing strap bar in order to strengthen my upper body. This is a tremendous opportunity for T&T to grow into another gym and a challenge to me to keep up with the expectations of artistic gymnastics.”

Kristle explained her goals in gymnastics: “My short-term goals are to be able to do passes again. My long-term goals are to win World Championships again and to do a skill that has never been competed by a woman.”

She explained that her next major competition will be in April in Colorado, “though there are a few qualifying meets to do along the way,” she added.

Kristle told us that she’s planning to debut some new skills in 2015, but as she put it, “I want it to be a surprise when I finally do it. I am optimistic to have a skill named after me one day. This new skill may not occur in 2015, but I will be increasing my difficulty again and I believe I will be in position in 2016 try this new skill.”

The seasoned competitor has some great advice for the Full Twist readers: “I would like to tell young gymnasts in the sport to always remain true to yourself. Never change who you are to get to the top. In the words of John Wooden, ‘be more concerned with your character then your reputation. Character is who you really are and reputation is merely what others think you are.’ Also ‘talent will get you to the top but it is character that keeps you there.’ ”

Kristle added, “I suffer from mental blocks. I recently wrote an article for Trampoline Pundit. The feedback was unbelievable. I’ve received fan messages from athletes all over the world saying how they suffer from mental blocks too. I want readers who also have mental blocks to know you are all not alone. High-level athletes get mental blocks all the time. I battle mental blocks but I now realize that hope is stronger than fear. Hope of being the greatest is stronger than the fear of doing the skill. Lastly, I want to thank all of my fans for your incredible outpouring of support of me through my injury. I cannot wait to see you all on the journey that hopefully leads to Denmark for the World Championships this year in November as Team USA’s men and women’s double mini teams get to defend our gold medals earned in 2013.”



Anna Pavlova is a senior elite artistic gymnast from Azerbaijan. Formerly a competitor for Russia, Anna competed at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, winning the team and vault bronzes in Athens 2004. “Now I am not training as I am being treated [for] a knee,” Anna told Full Twist. “I hope to start as soon as possible, because there will be many important events in Baku and beyond.” The 1st European Games will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Anna competed at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, placing 70th in the all-around and 30th as a team with her Azerbaijani teammates. “The World Championships made a great impression on me!” she said. “Recently I had to watch this event using media, while there everything was happening before my eyes.”

The elegant veteran gymnast told us, “My next competition [will] likely be the Open Joint Azerbaijan Championships in [all] gymnastics disciplines to be held in Baku in March this year. Then I hope to perform at the European Championships and at the World Championships as well. Besides them, there will be few World Cups during the year. Therefore, this year is very important.”

On the subject of upgrades for 2015, Anna explained, “From year to year gymnastics becomes more difficult; thus, gymnastics’ level has grown considerably since my last participation in the World Championships. I am going to strengthen the program, but now, everything is up to the health status and timing due to complications after the surgery.”

Anna added, “I would like to thank all gymnastics fans, all those who are…rooting for me. For me, this is very important as their support inspires me. Certainly, it is very pleasant to know that you are not forgotten.”



Simone Penker  is a member of the Austrian senior elite national team, and she is also a junior competing in NCAA gymnastics at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. At the 2014 World Championships, she placed 22nd with her team.

“Training has been going really well the last [few] months,” Simone told Full Twist. “I was practicing a lot in summer to qualify for the 2014 World Championships in Nanning. All the training camps and practices in different countries all around Europe with the Austrian national team were definitely worth it. After the third qualification they announced that I was part of the team representing Austria in October in Nanning and I was overly excited. Since I’m going to school in the U.S., at the UAA, I had to travel back to Alaska for a month and then went to China right from there. Worlds went great; we achieved our goal of placing under the top 24. After that I had a lot going on in school and I took it easier with practice, because also my body needed a break. I focused on new skills rather than routines and really enjoyed playing around in the gym. [At the] end of November I had to get back into doing routines and tried to add the new elements I’ve been training. After going home to Austria for Christmas break, I came back to Alaska in the end of December and was ready to start our season. Now we mainly focus on cleaning [up] our routines in practice and [traveling] from meet to meet around the U.S. We had our first two meets in Alaska last week and it went great for me. With adding another double back in my floor routine I got the top score on floor (the first time since being a student-athlete) and placed first in all-around.” Her all-around total was 38.675, and she also scored a career-high on floor exercise as well with a 9.725.

Simone described her goals for the upcoming season: “Definitely to stay healthy all season through and keep doing what I’ve been doing till now. I want to be part of the team that wins the MPSF Championships in March here in Alaska so we can get our name out there and [so that] people know about Alaska gymnastics. My personal goal in gymnastics is to compete all-around all season and perform consistent and clean routines on every event. By doing that, we’ll see, maybe I can qualify for Regionals or make a school record. Also the Summer Universiade is scheduled for July 2015 in Gwangju, South Korea, and I would love to qualify representing Austria.”

On the subject of new skills for 2015, Simone told us, “I added another double back in my floor routine, so I’m doing a double pike in my first pass and a double tuck in my third pass. It’s not really a new skill, but I’m really excited to actually compete this routine. Also on beam I added a front tuck mount and a double series, back handspring-lay-lay. My double series is not that consistent yet, so I hope it will get there at the end of season. On bars I didn’t change a lot, because I’ve all the college requirements I need, but I jump over the low bar for my mount which looks way cleaner than solely my jump to the high bar. And I added a full turn before my dismount to have one more connection bonus.”

As Simone mentioned, it takes quite the balancing act to compete for both Alaska and Austria. “Sometimes it’s hard to compete both internationally and for NCAA, but I love it,” she said. “Our season in Alaska is from January until the beginning of April and most international meets, like World Cups and World Championships, start in summer and go through the fall. Unfortunately, however, I [have] to travel home for National Championships and qualifications to stay in the Austrian national team and with having a Natural Sciences – Pre-Med major that’s not always easy. It’s really hard for me to say no, but getting my degree is as important to me, so sometimes I just have to. This was the case with the European Championships [in] 2014 and 2015. Also international and college requirements are way different, so I always have to change my routines back and forth, especially on floor and beam. On bars the biggest problem is the width between the two bars. In college they are far apart and I don’t need to pike at all when doing giants, so when competing with FIG rules I have to change my technique. Luckily my coach at UAA agreed for me to have the bar set somewhere in between FIG and college settings, so it is easier for me to adapt. In spite of all that, however, I’m overly happy that I got to experience college gymnastics where you have a team supporting you! Switching up competing in a team in the U.S. and elite in Austria takes me to so many places all around the world that I would never exchange this experience for a less stressful life.”

Simone added some advice for the readers: “Don’t give up on your dreams! If something doesn’t work, know that mistakes are just proof that you’re trying. Remember that there are thousands of people out there admiring you and being proud of you; show them what you’re best at! It’s not about being THE BEST in the world; it’s about being BETTER than you were yesterday.”


Catalina Ponor is a two-time Romanian Olympian. At the 2004 Athens Games, she won three gold medals, for team, balance beam, and floor exercise. In London 2012, she took home a team bronze and floor silver medal. “As everybody [knows], after London I retired from gymnastics,” Catalina told Full Twist. “So [as of] yet I [haven’t] started practicing.”

In the past month, there have been a lot of rumors about Catalina’s possible comeback in gymnastics. “I don’t know if I will return to [the] Romanian national [team],” she noted. “I thought about that; I’ve talked in general with Mrs. Mariana Bitang but I didn’t decide yet and probably if I will decide, then everybody will know officially from me; yet I’m still [on] vacation, relaxing and enjoying the nice weather in Puerto Rico.”

When asked if she might compete at the 2015 World Championships, Catalina remarked, “If I will decide to come back I will like to help the team to qualify for [the 2016] Olympics for sure, but we cannot talk about that now.” The four-time World Championships competitor also mentioned that since she hasn’t practiced for two and a half years, she hasn’t had the opportunity to prepare any new skills.

Catalina added, “I know I have a lot of fans and probably if I will decide to come back in gymnastics it will start a controversial topic, but I just want to let everybody know that I’m not taking any place of [anyone] from the team! If I will be prepared and good I will make the team, if not I will stay home! So I just want them to support me like they did before; it will mean a lot to me.”



Phoebe Pummarachai is a freshman competing in NCAA gymnastics at the University of California, Davis. “Acclimating to college life as a student athlete has honestly been a challenge,” Phoebe told Full Twist. “I have had my ups and downs. Injuries and personal medical complications have kept [me] out of training. However, I still try to bring energy into the gym and support my teammates accordingly.  Moving away from home was difficult, but I was able to reach out to my team for support. I can say that college gymnastics has greatly impacted my personal growth.”

On the subject of her goals for this season, Phoebe told us, “Since I am redshirting this upcoming season, my primary goal is to encourage my teammates by video, coaching, or cheering them on in practice and in home and some away meets. I am focusing my attention on academics so I can help boost the team GPA.” She added, “The showcase of my new skills will have to wait until 2016.”

A former elite gymnast who competed at the 2010 CoverGirl Classic, Phoebe mentioned that as of now, it is certainly a possibility that she might return to elite someday. “I need to focus on the priorities. It is an honor to be part of a team, and it is both a physical and emotional investment. If I were to ever return to elite gymnastics, it [would] have to wait until I am confident that I can handle a full workload in both my education and my gymnastics.”

Phoebe also said, “Don’t worry too much about the future. Life is like a roller coaster that takes you on an adventure to places you would never imagine yourself going. It is okay to not know where you are going. What you are majoring in. What career you want to pursue. Life does pass you by really quick. And if you spend the whole time thinking about the end result, you will never truly experience the journey. Have patience with your struggles and celebrate with every little victory. Worrying=unnecessary stress. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and with the people around you, even if it is terrifying. You never know who might surprise you.”



Olivia Vivian is a member of the Australian senior elite national team. A former NCAA gymnast and a competitor at the 2008 Olympic Games, she is a true veteran of our sport. “Training has been going okay,” Olivia told Full Twist. “It’s a bit of an ‘off season’ so I’ve been just maintaining fitness and focusing on work-related tasks. I don’t get paid to do the sport I love, so I have to work to pay the bills. I’ve recently been invested in opening up my own cafe. It’s called ‘The Leaky Tap’ and it has a plumbing theme to it, in honor of my father who passed away in 2013. Depending on renovations, it should open mid-late February [or] March at the latest!”

At the 2014 Nanning World Championships, Olivia and her team finished seventh in the team final. “There were definitely highlights and lowlights from Nanning,” she explained. “Some of the not-so-great aspects [were] seeing Lauren Mitchell injure herself days before comp. We had a strong team regardless, but it’s heartbreaking to see a teammate get hurt, especially when you know how hard they’ve worked. The ‘different’ part of the Nanning experience was our ‘low-quality’ hotel, with beds harder than a concrete footpath!! After a long flights, and added problems with registration, all I wanted to do was get to [the] hotel and lay down! Like any other normal person when they first enter their room, I jumped on the bed. It was quite the shock when I ended up winding myself because the bed was so hard! On the more positive side, competition was amazing and it felt so great to be back out there alongside my Aussie teammates! Placing seventh as a team, scoring a PB on bars and watching my teammates step up and shine were amongst the many highlights. Along with seeing friends from other countries and meeting my childhood idol Svetlana Khorkina. I’m never one to be at loss for words, but I swear I was speechless when I met her. I ran from one end of the stadium to the other just to see her, and when I got the chance to talk, all I could manage to say was ‘Selfie?’ ”

Olivia explained her goals in gymnastics: “Short-term are to maintain fitness and try to put myself in a spot where I am financially able to keep going. Long-term would be Rio and maybe even Cirque du Soleil.”

When asked if there was anything she’d like to tell the Full Twist readers, Olivia said, “Well if they’re still reading after all my novel-length answers, I want to say thank you for persevering!  I would also like to thank you all for the support and kind words I receive, especially on my Instagram. I love gymnastics so much and I know many of you feel the same way. I want to wish you all the best of luck and remind you to ALWAYS believe in yourself, especially on the tough days because those are the ones that count! I hope everyone has a wonderful 2015 and let’s make it a fantastic year for the sport we all know and love!”



Becky Wing is a former elite gymnast from Great Britain who now competes in NCAA gymnastics as a senior at Stanford University. “Training has been going really well,” Becky told Full Twist. “We’ve been working hard to get more depth to our lineups as well as adding in some more upgrades, so watch out for those in our upcoming meets!”

Becky explained her goals for this season. “As a team, we sat down at the end of the summer and talked about what we wanted to accomplish this year,” she said. “We decided that our motto for this year would be ‘do it big’ and we are really trying to embrace that in all aspects of our lives, knowing that we should never hold back because our teammates always have our back. We hope to perform confident, aggressive gymnastics day in and day out and with that I am so excited to see how far this team can go.”

On the subject of new skills for 2015, Becky told us, “I haven’t added any skills that I’ve never competed before, however I have changed up my beam routine a little and added a few new combinations! I also am back in the starter position for both the bars and beam lineup which I’m really excited about.”

Becky, who competed at the 2008 Olympic Games and two World Championships, said that she doesn’t have plans to return to elite. “Even if I wanted to I don’t think my body would allow it!” she said. “I’ve been doing gymnastics for almost 18 years and I am eternally thankful that it has given me so many incredible opportunities and allowed me to meet some amazing people. After college, I’m ready to experience other things in life. It’ll be a huge adjustment for sure, but also very exciting to start a new journey. Until then, I’m trying to soak in every moment that I get to do what I love with this team because I know that the season will be over in the blink of an eye.”

Becky added, “Thank you for reading and for all the support, and watch out for Stanford this season! We have a very special and talented group of girls and I think we are going to surprise a lot of people. GO CARD!”


Special thanks to all the gymnasts for chatting with us! Stay tuned for Part 15, which will include updates with Oksana Chusovitina, Melissa Doucette, and others!

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