Sticking the landing

Freshman discusses obstacles, rewards that come with competitive gymnastics


Photo by Melissa Anderson

Emily Anderson performing her skill

Iryna Hotsuliak, Reporter

Gymnastics requires balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination and endurance. While this may sound like too much for a 14-year-old, freshman Emily Anderson does not think so.
Emily found her passion for gymnastics when she was five and it has already lasted for nine years.
“When my mom was little, she was into gymnastics,” Emily said. “So she decided to put me in it and then I really liked it.”
Despite being a freshman in high school, she is considered a senior 7 in her gymnastics school due to her exceptional achievement on the team.
“Also, I have become the highest-ranking gymnast on the competition squad,” Emily said. “I hold a record at gym for winning first almost every single time.”
Emily said her favorite part about gymnastics is performing her floor routine.
“It is because I am doing a mix of ‘Beat It’ and ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson,” she said. “I love those songs.”
Emily said her gymnastics nightmare is uneven bars.
“I don’t have all my skills for bars,” she said. “But I don’t get frustrated and work hard.”
Emily said the people who want to go into gymnastics should know beforehand that they will constantly feel like quitting.
“But the point is you must keep doing it and over time you will get rewarded for your hard work,” she said. “Personally, I just continued working and moved up to the higher level.”
Emily performs at competitions two to three times a month.

The best part about competitions is just being able to hang around with my gym friends and seeing all the other team people

— Emily Anderson

Besides, Emily prefers performing in singles rather than groups.
“I actually do both, competing by myself and with other girls,” she said. “However, whenever I perform by myself, I feel more control over the performance.”
She is constantly learning new gymnastics skills.
“My favorite skill is definitely my layout on floor,” Emily said. “I also love doing my tug jump three-quarter.”
Emily has also experienced injuries on her gymnastics path. She broke her arm when trying to do a round up.
“I walked out and didn’t even cry,” she said. “My mom didn’t believe me I had broken my arm until she touched it and then we rushed to the doctor’s.”
Emily said gymnastics is a great relief for her during tough days.
“I go to the gym so I can take my frustration out on perfecting everything,” Emily Anderson said. “My hilarious coaches always cheer me up.”
Emily said she now practices three days a week, but she used to go every day of the week.
“Sometimes I just need a break but then I’ll just get over it and I’ll be like I don’t want to quit any more,” she said. “It is often challenging to mix all of my sports at school and gymnastics.”
Before competition season starts, Emily and her teammates have a sleep over in the gym.
“We just hang out all night and party it up in there,” she said.
Emily’s mom Melissa Anderson supports her and wears a T-shirt with her daughter’s name on it for each competition.
“I love watching her compete and when she finishes a perfect routine,” she said. “The smile on her face is worth all the time and dedication we all have put in.”
Melissa Anderson said despite all the time it takes to be on a gymnastics team, her daughter manages to do athletics at school and keep her grades up.
“She has zero social life due to her busy schedule,” she said. “But if this is her goal and dream to continue gymnastics in college, I’ll be her biggest fan and sacrifice whatever it takes to help her achieve it.”