Visa-Championships

Shawn Johnson (USA) - 2008 Visa Championships

Black History Month: NCAA Gymnasts

February 14th- Hallie Mossett (UCLA)

Hallie Mossett (born March 15th 1995) is a former international elite gymnast who is currently a senior at UCLA, majoring in sociology. She did her club training at West Coast Elite Gymnastics in California. 

Pre-collegiate Achievements:

  • Two-time USA National Team Member
  • Five-time Visa Championships Competitor
  • 2011 Pan Am Games Team Alternate

Collegiate Bests:

  • Vault: 9.850
  • Bars: 9.900
  • Beam: 9.875
  • Floor: 9.900

Collegiate Achievements (to date):

  • Two-time all-around winner (2014)
  • Two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week (2014)
  • Pac-12 Specialist of the Week (01/12/2016)
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#tbt: jordyn wieber’s 15.050 beam routine at the 2012 visa championshipsday 2

Black History Month: NCAA Gymnasts

February 8- Kennedy Baker 

Kennedy Baker is a former senior international elite gymnast who competed for USA and is now a sophomore at the University of Florida majoring in telecommunications. 

Pre-collegiate Achievements:

  • Team USA National Team Member 2010-2014 
  • 2009 Visa Championships junior bars champion
  • Competed at 2012 US Olympic Trials finishing eighth in the all-around
  • 2013 P&G Championships bronze medal winner on the balance beam

Collegiate Bests:

  • Vault: 9.950
  • Bars: 9.85
  • Beam: 9.925
  • Floor: 10.000

Collegiate Achievements (to date):

  • Earned her first 10.000 of her college career on floor against Alabama on 2016-01-29
  • All-American on floor
  • SEC Freshman of the Year (2015)
  • Four-time SEC freshman of the week recipient
BTR with Bridget Sloan (Episode 1)

So this episode is basically just a walk through of Bridget’s career. It’s actually kinda sad but definitely one of my favorite episodes. Bridget is so candid and open in interviews..she reminds me a lot of Asac. Anyways, not going to be doing a whole lot of screen caps in this one just because it’s mainly her talking to a camera. 

Bridget said it wasn’t until 2007 that she really knew she wanted to be an Olympian. 2007 was her first year as a senior and she was kinda a “no name” at the time. It wasn’t until she made the World’s team that people started to realize her potential. When the team arrived in Germany for World’s she was named an alternate and she remembers sitting in the stands watching her teammates win gold thinking “I never want this to happen again”. She decided that she was going to work harder than ever before.

In March of 2008 she tore her meniscus in Italy. Up until that point she felt like she had a shot of making the Olympic team. She remembers sitting on the plane going home thinking “Is this really it? Are my chances over?” and her doctor grabbed her by the shoulders and said “This is not the end. You WILL make it. You will make your dreams come true." 

She says the Olympic trials was one of the worst meets she’s ever had. She was coming back from her injury and was super stressed out. She felt like Marta saw something in her and that’s why she let her come to the selection camp. The team was announced at camp after two days of competition. The announcement was made in the cafeteria where they had one couch set up. All the gymnasts sat on the same couch and listened as the names were read off in alphabetical order. Bridget’s name is the last one alphabetically. She said she was sitting next to Alicia who started laughing after her own name was called, and she was like "I don’t know why you are laughing, but this is not the time for laughter.” Alicia said “Bridget we made it" and then Marta called her name, which triggered so many emotions! She said everyone started crying, even Marta, Kathy Kelly, and Steve Rybacki!  Her mom literally fell to the floor! She said in this moment she realized "It all paid off”

Then she begins talking about her Olympic experience. She says Prelims was the most intense for her personally. Then she talks about Sam Pezek’s injury right before they went out to compete. She says Sam went to do her pass one last time, she landed it fine, but then she heard a pop and started to have a freak out because she realized, “oh, they need me now. Like they REALLY need me." 

Sam told the girls "do not feel bad for me, I am still here…I am going to be the biggest and best cheerleader.” That’s when a lot of the girls realized she was right and that they could do this. “We are team USA! Throw anything at us…we will work with it” she said. 

After prelims, Bridget said she was so happy she was able to contribute on more than one event and she was confident with the teams performance. After it was over she said “Alright, great job guys, we have no worries!” And then everyone looked at her like….

Really? 

“It was awesome though!” she says. 

Then she talks about winning a silver medal in team finals…

“We might have gotten silver, but you know what, we earned silver! Getting a medal in the Olympics games is so big! I know a lot of people were like ‘you guys just got silver’ but I was like 'yeah, we got a silver medal in the Olympics!’ That group of girls was not just a team, we were a family. we were a sisterhood! Thinking back, I don’t know how I would have got through some of my days without having Alicia or Sam by my side, or Shawn, or Nastia, or my roommate Chellsie! Seeing the American flag and hearing the national anthem after the Olympics….you don’t really see them the same. It’s really a representative of what I did for my country and what us six girls did for team USA!” - Bridget about team finals. 

She then talks about how everyone thought the 2008 team would be done after the Olympics, but 2009 was her year to say “Boo-ya I’m back!” She said 2009 was a great year for her because she never really came down from the high after the Olympics. After winning nationals she was like “You know what, that’s pretty cool. I won Visa Championships…that’s awesome! Now I want to go to Worlds!” She says she remembers thinking before they left for Worlds how much she really wanted it and she remembers asking her coach if he thought she had a shot at winning and he said “You have surprised me so many times! You will always have a shot no matter what!" 

Looking back now, she thinks "how did I do that?” about winning Worlds. She said 2009 was her year to prove herself as an individual and show everyone she wasn’t done just yet. 

In 2010 she started dealing with several injuries. Her ankles were giving out and she tore a muscle in her shoulder. “Who does that? …. I do” she said. Then in 2011 she had bicep tendon surgery and she thought “what is going on?” She said she was always known for having no injuries and staying healthy and then suddenly all these little injuries started flaring up. 

This was when she realized that if she really wanted this, she really had to step it up. She started training twice a day and was basically living at the gym. (They show a few clips of her training at Florida here!) 

Then she talks about 2012 Olympic Trials and she starts to get very emotional. She said she was warming up bars before the competition, and when she went to do her church release she knew something was off. “I knew what was gonna happen next.” she said. 

She said she came right down on her elbow and when she hit the mat her arm ricocheted up. She got up and and immediately knew something wasn’t right. She tried shaking if off and telling herself that it was okay. She went back to the chalk box and Jordyn Wieber asked her if she was okay. She said she was fine and that it just took the wind out of her, but she was alright. Then she went to go get back on the bar and she couldn’t grab the bar. Marvin asked her what was wrong and she said she couldn’t feel anything in her arm. Everything from her elbow down was tingling. Her elbow started to swell, so Larry Nassar came over to take a look and she told him not to touch it because it hurt so bad. She said the hardest moment was walking out of the arena thinking “I’m going to the training room and I’m probably not coming back." 

So she called her parents and told them they needed to come down to the training room. Then she told them "I think I’m done.” while she was hysterically crying. She said Marta and Kathy Kelly came in sobbing- everyone was in shock. She said this was the worst moment of her entire life. “People always say you throw in the towel, well I threw in the leotard.” She said she sat in the training room with her dad for a long time and she kept thinking “this isn’t fair” and “this isn’t happening” It was one of those moments where she thought “is this what it feels like to retire?…I’m actually done. And not because I didn’t make it or not because I wasn’t good enough. My body is literally done." 

At trials she was rooming with Alicia and when she came in the room Bridget said "Just stop! Do not say anything, just walk to your bed and sit." 

Then once Alicia sat down she said "okay, can we cry now?” And they cried together. Bridget said she also ripped her toe open on top of her elbow injury, so she had to get stitches in the hotel room. So she was also hysterically crying because of that. “I don’t do needles!” she said. Then her doctor told her everything was going to be okay and she says “no, call my parents! They need to start scheduling my funeral!” The doctor told her again to calm down and she said “My elite career is over, I’m getting stitches, I have a broken elbow…what is there to life?” And the doctor responds “Uhmm, the gators?" 

And that’s the end of episode 1! 

Black History Month: NCAA Gymnasts

February 8th- Kiana Winston (Alabama)

Kiana Winston (born June 12th 1996) is a former international elite gymnast who is currently a junior at the University of Alabama, majoring in psychology. She did her club training at Texas Dreams Gymnastics under Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and Chris Burdette.

Pre-collegiate Achievements:

  • 2009 US Classic Beam Champion 
  • 2009, 2010 and 2011 Visa Championships Qualifier
  • 2011 USA Junior National Team Member

Collegiate Bests:

  • Vault: 9.900
  • Bars: 9.975
  • Beam: 9.950
  • Floor: 10.000

Collegiate Achievements (to date):

  • First Team All-American on floor (2016)
  • Got her first 10.000 on floor against Florida (02/03/2017)
  • SEC Gymnast of the Week (02/06/2017)