Elite gymnasts tumble to success at State
Junior Desiree Flouro and sophomore Theresa Richards stuck their season landings at Division 1 gymnastics State on March 8. Flouro placed 22nd on the uneven bars with a score of 8.450, while Richards placed 20th on the beam with an 8.867 and 25th on the uneven bars with a 7.900. On her second trip to State, Flouro believed that the day was quite successful.
“I just went out there and did the best I could,” she said. “I placed 22nd on bars and knowing that it was going to be tough competition, I thought I did pretty well for myself.”
Many know that gymnastics can be a dangerous sport and sophomore Richards had the privilege of competing in one of the more treacherous events at State.
“I really only get nervous for [uneven bars and beam] events because knowing you could fall off something just adds to the nerves,” she said.
Traveling to State for any sport in the WIAA league is an accomplishment for any athlete. Even though Flouro has been in gymnastics all her life, her history with the sport was not able to ease the stress of competition.
“I was super nervous, like shaking nervous, and I’ve never been nervous for doing bars,” she said. “I just told myself that is was a big accomplishment to make it there and I just told myself to go out there and do my best and my best was good enough for me.”
Richards was glad to be able to overcome all the tension and act as if it was any other meet.
“I wasn’t very nervous, actually,” she said. “I had already made it to State, so now I was just going to go out on the floor and do what I had done all season and have fun.”
While some can get over the anxiety that big games or meets bring, there is always one person there to help. Gymnastics head coach Leah Levine understands the pressure that many girls are under because of her past experience.
“I started gymnastics when I was three years old at the Oshkosh Gymnastics Center, started competitive gymnastics at the age of six and did it until I graduated high school,” she said. “I was in club gymnastics for 15 years and I got to travel all over the country for competitions and had a lot of fun with all the new things I got to experience.”
Flouro knows that an athlete must put in the time in order to be successful.
“I think the hardest part of the sport is all the hours and the hard work that’s put into it,” she said. “All the body strength that is needed to be able to do all the skills requires dedication.”
After qualifying for State, athletes must hone in their skills to be perfect for the upcoming competition. Once the time comes, gymnasts must be ready to give everything they have and leave it all out on the floor.
“I tell the girls many different things before they go out and compete,” said Levine. “Each girl is different, and so I tell them each different things that will help them when performing their routine. I might tell them to tighten up before a certain skill, take one skill at a time, and many other things. But most importantly, have fun.”
Even though Levine is still in college, she is well equipped to be the head coach. Every day she strives to make the girls better.
“I use knowledge from my past coaches every single practice I ever coached,” she said. “I learned how to use certain techniques with the girls so they get the most out of their gymnastics, because at the end of the day, they are most important in the gym.”
By: Taylor Ferrere