A LETTER TO GYMNASTICS
By: Andrea Yan
When I started this sport at the age of 8, I never thought it would impact me so much. It has taught me passion, hard work, and dedication. It has brought me friendships and experiences that I will never forget.
My friend drew me into this sport. She started taking gymnastics classes and I, being my 6-year-old self, thought it was really cool and wanted to join. After watching recordings of the 2008 Olympics many times, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to become an Olympic All-Around Champion, just like Nastia Liukin.
My first gym, CC’s Gymnastics, made me fall in love with the sport. Even though I did not improve much gymnastics wise, it taught me passion.
My second gym, North Texas Elite Gymnastics, taught me hard work. This is the place where I truly improved my gymnastics. The coaches pushed me every day to build new skills and improve on the ones I already had. They gave us conditioning workouts that pushed me to the point of failure. Without this experience, I don’t think I could be the gymnast I am today.
My third gym, WOGA, showed me the importance of hard work and dedication. This gym is where the peak of my gymnastics career came. WOGA has produced three Olympic champions, Nastia Liukin included, and although it was a hard decision to switch gyms, it was ultimately worth it. I trained 35 hours a week, every week of the year. It was tough and hard on my body, but the results were spectacular.
Within a year, I went from a level 4 gymnast to level 7 state champion and regionals qualifier. My last season as an artistic gymnast was as a level 8. By then, I had enough skills to move up a level, and my coach said it would be very possible for me to make an Olympic team. Due to the continued strain on my body and the fact that I had no time for school, my family and I made the difficult decision to stop doing gymnastics. I missed it with all my heart, thinking I would never go back.
For the next 3 years, I was a diver. My gymnastics background helped me improve fast and be a national level diver. However, due to lack of practice time and limited resources, I quit diving. This was when I went back to gymnastics, not artistic gymnastics but Trampoline and Tumbling (TNT).
My fourth gym, Southlake Gymnastics Academy, made me fall in love with gymnastics again. Within a year of quitting diving, I had become the 9th best tumbler in the nation. I have found my true happy place, where I have the best teammates who support me, and a coach who I have a wonderful relationship with. I have found my niche, and it is back with gymnastics.
My goals have changed drastically from when I first started gymnastics. I know that becoming an Olympic Champion is no longer a realistic goal for me, because I started TNT so late. My goals now are to become an elite tumbler and national champion before I graduate high school. It is my hope that with my gymnastics accomplishments, I can get into the college of my dreams.
This sport has been the center of my life, and I have loved every single moment of it. My experiences in gymnastics have taught me life lessons that no other person could ever teach me. Without the sport of gymnastics, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.