Our next 20 questions athlete is Gymnastics Academy of Rockford’s Reese Samuelson. Reese is a young athlete with big skills, pretty lines and beautiful presentation. Reese, who has competed at the JO Nationals, is now testing the waters at the Elite Level. Let get to know Reese a little better as she embarks on the new competition season. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this talented young athlete.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? My mom had done gymnastics as a girl, so she had me tested for Hot Shots, which was invite only at Rockford and I qualified. I was 5 years old.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is bars (watch Reese bar routine from the gymnasts perspective)
Favorite Skill to train/compete? My Favorite skill to train is a Full In on floor and my favorite skill to compete is my Flip Lay Lay on beam.
Dream Skill? The “Samuelson” working on inventing it and also the Amanar vault.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? Flipping through the air and defying gravity.
What college do you plan on attending? Undecided, just turned 13.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? St. Jude gymnastic meet hosted by Gymnasti Gymnastics Why? Because it is a great cause and it was near and dear to my heart, having a teammate that had leukemia, who overcame the disease with help from St. Jude.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? Winning 2016 Level 10 Regionals and making it to 2016 Level 10 Nationals and Hopes Championships in 2015.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? Ashton Locklear for her beautiful bars and being a really nice person to me when I met her in North Carolina at a meet and then later having dinner with her.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? R5 All Access
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? The Rock of Ages soundtrack or Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack
3 Things you could not live without? Food(Dessert), Books(Rick Riordan, JRR Tolkien, and Tui T. Sutherland) and a phone (which my parents won’t let me have yet)
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? I would be a horse, because they are my favorite animals and I have two at home.
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag? Grips, snacks, water, an extra leo and lots of tiger balm.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I eat pasta for dinner the night before meets.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? Build Architectural Legos, play with my dog, Zuko, bake and visit my friends.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? So excited after landing my Piked Yerchenko for the first time in a meet at Level 8 Regionals, that I hugged my coach before remembering to salute the judges.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? Track and Volleyball
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? Oksana Chusovitina. Because she has been to 7 Olympics. She continues to try new skills at 42 years old. She’s an inspiration and that there can be longevity in the sport.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? Trust the process, use your words, and keep calm. Positive and patient.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself…. I was born with a broken collarbone and I like music from the 70’s & 80’s.