Our next 20 Questions Athlete is a former Junior International Elite, 2x JO National Qualifier and Future Florida Gator. Eliana “Ellie” Lazzari trains at Legacy Elite Gymnastics in Carol Stream, Illinois.I first remember seeing Ellie at the 2015 Region 5 Championships, she was so tiny, but had a huge vault and an eye catching presence on the floor. Ellie finished 5th in the All-Around at this competition qualifying her to her first JO National Championships where she would eventually finish 8th in the All-Around. In 2016 Ellie qualified to Junior International Elite and went onto compete at the 2016 American Classic, US Secret Classic and the 2017 US Classic before deciding to drop back to Level 10. 2019 was the first time I have seen Ellie compete since 2015 and once again I was captivated by her beautiful floor routine and her exceptional vault. It is really great to see her back in JO Gymnastics, having fun and excelling. I can definitely see this talented young athlete making huge impact for the next few years for Region 5. So, as this high school sophomore prepares to compete in her 2nd JO National Championships in Indianapolis Indiana, let’s get to know Future Gator Ellie Lazzari a little bit better.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? My mom signed me up for a Mom and Tot class when I was 3 years old. I loved it from the very beginning.
What is your favorite event? Beam
Favorite Skill to train/compete Flip-Flop Layout Layout on Beam
Dream Skill? Tkatchev into a Pak Salto
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? For me it is all about the team. I love the sisterhood of gymnastics and the special bond that gymnasts share. We all work so extremely hard and we really “get” each other and are able to provide a built-in support system that makes us all better.
What college do you plan on attending? I am verbally committed to the University of Florida on a full athletic scholarship.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? The most fun I have ever had at a meet was at JO Nationals. The meet feels like such a celebration and Region 5 really goes above and beyond to make sure their Dream Team has an unforgettable experience.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? I was on the USA Developmental Team for 4 years and was then asked to join the USA National Team Camp in 2016. Right after competing in the 2017 Secret Classic I had shoulder surgery and was out for the 2018 season. I am happily competing Level 10 now but when I look back at all the years I attended the training camps, I am amazed at what a big accomplishment that was! I will always be thankful for that incredible opportunity and proud of that phase of my gymnastic journey.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? My favorite Region 5 Insider Series is the All Access Series. It is so interesting to get a look inside other gyms and see how they train.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? I like listening to Indie Rock.
3 Things you could not live without? Myfamily, friends and Gilmore
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? I would be a dolphin because they have such a strong family bond and are cute, smart, lovable and gentle. I also like that they always seem to be so happy and have so much fun with their pod.
5 Most Important or Must have items in your gym bag? Grips, Water Bottle, Pre-Wrap, Tape, and Tennis Ball.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? The night before a meet I take a long Epsom bath, have pasta for dinner, and then visualize all my routines when I go to bed. The day of a meet I rub a blessing stone for a little extra luck.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? I love spending time with my family and friends in South Haven, Michigan. South Haven is my happy place where I can fully relax and recharge. I also really like hanging out with my teammates outside of the gym. In my down time I love binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? After not seeing each other for a year, Morgan Hurd and I spotted each other in the hotel during the 2018 American Cup. We both ran at full force to greet each other and collided. I ended up falling on top of Morgan as she hit the floor really hard. She hadn’t competed yet and I was so afraid that I injured her and that she wasn’t going to be able to compete. She kept telling me she was fine and we couldn’t stop laughing but I was so embarrassed. I was totally stressed out until the competition was over and she had won the All Around.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I would probably try soccer or badminton.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I have great respect for any athlete that is committed to putting in the effort and making the right choices to be the best that they can be – at any level and in any sport.
What part of JO Nationals are you most looking forward to? Team bonding with the Region 5 girls, seeing old friends from other regions, and getting to compete on such a big stage.
Most Memorable Gymnastics or JO Nationals Moment? Making the Region 5 All Star Team and getting to go with the team to the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland when I was 12 years old.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you?
You’re ready … you just need to believe in yourself
Commit to the skill – Go for it – You have nothing to lose
Don’t rush – Finish the skill – You are not done until you salute at the end of the routine
Do your normal
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself….
I was born in Foshan, China and was adopted by my family when I was 18 months old. I also have two older sisters that were adopted from China.