Our next 20 questions athlete has a remarkable story that she recently shared via instagram. Kyla Podges of Legacy Gymnastics in Kentucky almost wasn’t, as an infant she was literally abandoned on the streets of China, thanks to a local police officer she was taken to an orphanage and later adopted by her loving American Family at the age of 2. This talented young lady has thrived in her life, qualifying this year to her first JO Nationals and accepting a full scholarship to Texas Women’s University where she will be heading in the fall. Kyla, who is always happy and full of life is a joy to watch on the competition floor, she always has a smile on her face and really seems to be enjoying what she is doing. As JO Nationals is approaching and Kyla’s time with Region 5 and Legacy Gymnastics is coming to a close let’s get to know this incredible young lady a little bit better as she prepares to leave one chapter behind and begin a new.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? When I was 19 months old, I was adopted from China. I was developmentally delayed for my age, so my mom wanted to put me in gymnastics to improve my motor and social skills. I began doing “Mommy & Me” classes at the age of 2, and I’ve loved the sport ever since!
What is your favorite event? Floor is my favorite, though it used to be beam. I love being able to dance to my music and show off my routine.
Favorite Skill to train/compete? My favorite skill to train is a front double on floor. My favorite skill to compete is my yurchenko full-on, tuck-off on vault.
Dream Skill? Definitely a full twisting pak!
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? There are so many parts of gymnastics that I love, but being a part of such a tight knit group of girls is something that can’t be beat. I wouldn’t trade my Legacy family for the world!
What college do you plan on attending? I plan on attending Texas Woman’s University and joining their gymnastics team this fall. I can’t wait to compete for my future school, go Pioneers!
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far is committing to TWU on a full-athletic scholarship. But qualifying to JO’s comes in at a close 2nd!
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I like watching the “Eye On 5” series!
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? Before meets I listen to songs that I can sing to and get pumped up to. Mostly rap, Ariana Grande, or throwback songs from like 2008
3 Things you could not live without? I definitely couldn’t live without socks (feet gross me out), a phone charger (my phone is literally in low power mode all the time), and my one contact I wear in my left eye (because I’m blind)
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? I would be a giraffe so I could be tall and have long legs. Also because I think giraffes are cool, and they’ve been my favorite animal since I was little.
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag? Some must have items in my gym bag include tape, coband, Tiger Paws, lotion, and Ibuprofen
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? I don’t really have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions, besides listening to music. Though I do always bring a certain foam roller with me to meets, just in case I get sore from traveling.
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? Outside of gym I like to bake, watch Netflix, sleep, and go out with friends
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? My most embarrassing meet moment was at State Meet in 2016. I had the flu all week leading up to State, so I was not feeling 100%. Long story short, I face planted on my double pike on floor… in front of everyone.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I would probably give diving a try
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I respect LSU gymnast, McKenna Kelley, the most because she is the perfect example of a fighter. She worked hard to get back after tearing her achilles and earned a perfect 10 on her senior night!
What part of JO Nationals are you most looking forward too? I’m looking forward to being able to represent Region 5 and to compete alongside some of the best level 10’s in the nation
Most Memorable Gymnastics or JO Nationals Moment? My most memorable gymnastics moment was meeting Martha Karolyi when I went to The Ranch for National TOPs testing
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself…. I’m legally blind in my right eye. Oh, and I can wiggle my ears haha.