Saturday, October 11, 2008

Straight from the gymnasts Mouth

I can imagine that one of the best, and the worst things about being a gymnast is the travel. You'd get to see so many places, do so many things. At the same time, though, I have heard retired gymnasts talking about going to World Championships and Olympics and never even getting to see the city it was held in. And I always feel sorry for the gymnasts at the Olympics because, being one of the first events, the athletes are rarely allowed to attend the opening ceremony.
It must be hard too, dealing with jet lag, napping in airports, trying to sleep on planes, and dealing with homesickness, only to compete in what is probably an important international meet. Or in a lot of cases, gymnasts are moving away from home and having to get used to new places where they will be training, going to college or coaching.
In fact, it has been said countless times by Australian commentators that Peggy Liddick has to not just select her gymnasts for nationals teams on their talent and specialties, but also on their ability to compete internationally without letting the arduous hours of travel it takes to get from Australia to... well.... anywhere.
Here are a list of quotes that talk about gymnasts experiences of travel, of homesickness. and being in new places....

"She needs more international competition, I'm responsible for that,I gambled with that, I kept her at home training, I kept her safe and healthy rather than put her out on the international circuit, traveling from Australia is hard on your body ... That strategy worked but I took away her international experience. It was my miscalculations; she did the work, I can't complain."
Peggy Liddick on traveling and Dasha Joura having an
unsteady international competition.
NBC Olympic Profile.

We went and saw the Great Wall, which is an experience of a lifetime. To see it with my own eyes and see how beautiful it is ... how long it is ... I could never imagine building something like that. It was great to walk on ancient history. We took the lift to the top since we had floor finals the next day. We went to Silk Street and the Pearl Market, which is definitely a different experience, but I love bargaining, in fact, I think I'm good at it...I got a North Face ski jacket down from $80, and a Louis Vuitton carry-on roller bag for $25. Steve [Penny, President of USA Gymnastics] gave me some tips when we were in New York and I used that as a learning experience. I am not one to try things that don't look edible and I'm not really big on seafood, so I stuck to American food.
Bridget Sloan, NBC Interview

I was really home sick. That city was almost dead. You hardly ever see people walking around the streets, and the ones who do go out, take their car. I missed home so much when I first moved there, I didn't eat anything but a sandwich and salad the first five days. That's how I lost about 10 lbs. After I was done coaching, I didn't want to go back home, so I would stay at the gym and train by myself for 3 hours.
Maria Olaru on moving to Austria to Coach
Romanian Gymnastics News

"Well, we always try and arrive a little early, to get used to the equipment; to get used to the time change. We just have to get through it. We get good at it, you know? We’re always at the airport stretching, and stuff like that. [It’s a challenge] but we seem to pull through it OK."
Monette Russo.

England because it was really cool and different and nice. Sometimes we go places where it’s really different and they are like, dirty, but I really like England.
Shayla Worley

Elyse (Hopfner-Hibbs) and I are both planning another aspect of our lives after Beijing. She will be heading to UCLA on a full scholarship when I move to Britain. This being Elyse's last year before heading to UCLA, I wanted to select international assignments that would really be memorable for her. When the World Cup in Qatar came up, I jumped at the opportunity.
Carol-Angela Orchard

“I will definitely be taking Harry Potter to Beijing!”
Ksenia Semenova

"But all in all, I had an amazing experience. Being an alternate may not sound as amazing as being on the team, but we got to do so many things over there. They put us up in a nice place, and we got to go around and see more sites and more events. So from that aspect of things, it was really fun."
Tasha Schwikert on being a team alternate
at the 2004 olympics

"I never thought of this, in Russia. When they start to do exhibition in England, United States, Australia, Germany, everywhere. And I saw how people, you know, see me and start to cry, or laugh, you know. But I, actually I never felt this. But still when I left in living in um Russia, when I moved to the United States, finally I understood that. But, may be this is not so very excited because this is from nineteen seventy two is, long time. You know this is very good when, yesterday is, and tomorrow, everybody ask you, you know, buy a little bit, and after right after nineteen seventy was, they were still in Munich and I told him before I bought a sunglasses, and a wig and a long dress, and was to shopping, so I could spend my money because all shop owners they present me everything what I would like to buy. And why I changed my style to spend my money."
Olga korbut.

"I have met so many different people through my sport. Also, how many kids that go to public schools can say they have done as much traveling as I have? I think it is an incredibly opportunity."
Amber Trani

"After all that, I eventually arrived in the U.S. My objective was to pretend like nothing had happened and just get on with my job. Getting on with my job was easy but pretending like nothing had happened was impossible when everyone else couldn't forget it! Even the National coach was paying me out! But I understand. I would too if that person was the oldest on the team and the only one to forget their passport!"
Olivia Vivian, WAIS Blog.

"I have many hilarious memories from my travels over the years. Putting on our ‘skins’ in communal bathrooms, running up escalators and doing leg kicks in crowded airports as training sessions, and some I wouldn’t care to share.”
Daria Joura, Perth Now

“During the flight (to Beijing) it was necessary to get up and walk around. And of course other athletes had the same idea, the back of the plane became a great place to talk to other athletes….well it was until flight staff became concerned about the amount of weight in the back of the plane!”
Olivia Vivian, WAIS Blog

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