Our Next 20 Questions Athlete is a former JO National Competitor who is trying to to make her way to the Elite Level. Kaia Tanskanen, of Michigan Elite Gymnastics Academy in Novi Michigan, has competed in the JO National Championships as 1st year Level 10 in 2018 and is now pursuing gymnastics outside the United States. Kaia’s father was born and raised in Finland, which has allowed Kaia, who holds dual citizenship) the opportunity to compete in the country of Finland. Most recently Kaia competed at the 2019 Finnish Championships placing 3rd in the All-Around and qualifying to the finals on Vault, Bars and Beam where she went onto place 2nd in the Vault. Kaia, has always been one of my favorite athletes to watch especially on the Floor Exercise, she has such a strong performance quality well above her years. I cannot wait to watch Kaia continue in her gymnastics journey in this country and abroad. Let’s get to know Kaia a little bit better as she continues her quest to earn a spot on the Finnish National Team.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I got into gymnastics because my parents owned a gym so that’s how I got into the sport. I started gymnastics when I was 2 or 3.
What is your favorite event? My favorite event is probably floor because I love to show it off and preform!
Favorite Skill to train/compete My favorite skill to compete is probably a 2 1⁄2 punch front on floor.
Dream Skill? My dream skill would probably be shaposh 1⁄2 and a straight body uphill.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is probably getting to go out and compete, and to compete for region 5.
What college do you plan on attending? Why? I am not committed yet but I am looking forward to exploring many colleges!
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why? My favorite meet to compete at is probably nationals because it is so much fun and you get to meet so many new people!
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment so far is probably qualifying to JO Nationals my first year level 10 as a junior A.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? Why? The person I admire the most is Katelyn Ohashi because she is an amazing gymnast, she has such a fun personality, and her story is very inspiring!
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? My favorite Region 5 insider feature or series would be the eye on five or the 20 questions.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? I don’t really have a specific song or playlist to listen to before a meet, but I do like to listen to pump up songs!
3 Things you could not live without? 3 things I could not live without are, gymnastics, my family, and my blankets because I love how fuzzy and soft they are.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? If I could be any animal I would probably be a dog because I love dogs or I would be a dolphin because they are very intelligent and I love them!
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag? 5 important items that that should be in my gym bag are, my phone, my headphones, tape, water bottle, and grips/wristguards.
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I do not have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? Well I have gone surfing once and I really liked it. I also like to play tennis.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? When I was a level 4 (level 3 now) I was scared to tumble backwards so at state meet I was on floor and I didn’t go for my round off BHS and I ran off the floor. Also at the MEGA Magic 2018 on floor I was doing my front double full which is my last pass and my take off position was off and I tried to save my fall by running backwards and then my legs collapsed and I turned and fell to my face.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? If I didn’t do gymnastics I would probably do tennis or golf because I like those sports. I would do surfing if I lived near an ocean.
What are you most looking forward to this competition session? I am most looking forward to qualifying and becoming an Elite.
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? Enjoy every moment…
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself….
I like to skateboard when I am home and I also like to golf with my family in the summer!