One of the most anticipated events every four years is the gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympics, and the battle for Gold at the 2012 London Games is shaping up to be a memorable one.
The West Virginia University gymnastics team is anxiously waiting to watch the women’s competition, set to begin with the qualification round on July 29. Team USA, comprised of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber, is heavily favored, while Douglas and Wieber, the reigning all-around world champion, have been pegged as the top contenders for the all-around crown.
The Mountaineers have made plans to watch the competition together, and rising sophomore Maci Sump will undoubtedly be cheering the loudest. Sump, a native of Lansing, Mich., once trained at Twistars USA with Wieber. Additionally, the girls’ coaches, John and Kathryn Geddert, will be in London, with John serving as the team’s head coach.
Full of excitement and a few nerves for her former teammate, Sump believes Wieber will return from London with multiple medals.WVUSports.com: Once Jordyn began progressing toward elite gymnastics, around the time you both were level 6, did you see Olympic potential?Maci Sump:
I didn’t really think that. I thought she was just going to be a really good level 10 gymnast and then compete in college. I never really pictured her competing in the Olympics until a few years ago. She began to go around the country to all of these elite competitions, train tougher routines and work-out more. Does it surprise you at all that she is competing in the Olympics?
No, not at all. Jo is one of those gymnasts that has worked so hard. She will goof off with you, but when it’s time to buckle down and get to work, she will get the job done. She’s very motivated and wants to do well. She wants to be the best.Is there pride that goes along with having a former teammate compete in the Olympics?
I’m so proud. It’s really cool to look at her on TV and know that we once trained together. She’s still my teammate. It’s almost surreal, actually. I have to remind myself that this is real life, and Jordyn is really in the Olympics.
It’s really cool to have one of your teammates that you trained with for so many hours compete for the Gold. Jordyn is favored to win the all-around crown. Do you think she can?
I think she can if she doesn’t get ahead of herself. She needs to stay calm in her own world and not let the crowd, the pressure or the publicity get to her.
I think the competition between Jordyn and Gabby will be good for both of them. I think it will push them both to work harder for the individual medals.
I think it’s going to be a great competition between the two, but I think Jordyn will have the edge.Are you excited to watch the Olympics with your teammates?
I think people forget about gymnastics sometimes and how difficult the sport is. There aren’t many televised meets. It’s cool that the Olympics bring the sport a lot of attention. I know a lot of people look forward to watching the Olympic coverage of gymnastics. They like to watch the athletes flip and do tricks.
It will be a lot of fun to watch with my teammates! I’m sure we will be screaming loudly and cheering everyone on. Jordyn is obviously busy training in London, but if you could send her a good luck message, what would you say?
Jordyn, you’ve worked so hard for this opportunity. You are such an inspiration to all gymnasts, including your Twistars teammates. Go out there, stay focused and compete the gymnastics you have been competing over the last year. You’ve got this! Best of luck, and bring home the Gold! The women’s gymnastics team qualifications are set for Sunday, July 29, with the final scheduled for July 31.