Our next 20 Questions Athlete is the tiny, but powerful, Sydney Jelen of Legacy Elite in Aurora, Illinois. Sydney, who is only 13 years old, has made a fast climb in the sport of gymnastics having went from level 9 Eastern’s to Hope Championships in 2016. In 2018, Jelen qualified to her 2nd JO National Championships and picked up the 2018 JO National Junior A Uneven Bars Title. Sydney, who has the most infectious smiles, has a long journey left here with us in Region 5 and she definitely will always be a “one to watch” when it comes to championships Season. Lets get to know Sydney a little bit better as she begins her summer training and sets her sights on a 3rd JO Nationals birth in 2019.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? My sister was in gymnastics and I wanted to do it with her. I started when I was 4 years old.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is beam.
Favorite Skill to train/compete My favorite skill to compete is a side ariel flip-flop.
Dream Skill? My dream skill is a double layout on floor.
What college do you plan on attending? I do not know.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? Nationals is my favorite meet to compete at because everybody cheers everyone on, and it gets me excited.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment was going to the U.S Classic.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? I admire my coach, Anna Li, because she was a great college gymnast, a great gymnast who was on the Olympic team, and now an amazing coach who teaches me all she knows.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? Region 5 Insider’s Best and Fails are both fun to watch.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets?I listen to many different artists before meets like: Ariana Grande, Cardi B, and Halsey
3 Things you could not live without?Three things I can’t live without are: my phone, my fuzzy blanket, and pickles.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?If I could be any animal I would be dolphin because I like to swim.
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag?I would need my grips, tape, tiger-paws, wrist bands and a water bottle in my gym bag.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? I like to go fishing and like to go swimming in my pool.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment?When I was competing I tripped on my leap and almost fell.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I most respect Nastia Liukin because she persevered throughout her life as a gymnast.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself…. Before I started gymnastics, I was in tap and ballet with both my sisters, Sammi and Sarina.
Check out Sydney’s Gold Medal winning Uneven Bar routine from the 2018 JO National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio.