Our next 20 Questions Athlete is a 2018 Level 9 Eastern National Bars & Balance Beam Champion. she comes from a gym with a long standing history of National Champions & National Qualifiers. Rachel Rybicki of Olympia Gymnastics in Shelby Twp, Michigan is certainly “one to watch” this coming season. Rachel is an extremely talented athlete all over the gym, and is certainly eye catching with her gymnastics, but it is her mega watt smile that captivates those around her. You can truly see the pure joy and happiness she exhibits on the competition floor. When watching Rachel you cannot help but smile, especially during her floor routine, she is truly a performer. Let’s get to know Rachel a little bit better as she begins her journey to the 2019 JO National Championships this season as a first year Level 10.
How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you?My mom was very involved in gymnastics, but she wanted my to try all the other sports as well. So I tried a bunch of different sports, but once I tried a gymnastics class with my sister I loved it, and I have been doing it ever since – I was 4 or 5 when I started.
What is your favorite event? I like to do bars and beam. I like bars because when I do my skills I always get an adrenaline rush and I love the feeling of flipping and flying through the air
Favorite Skill to train/compete? I like to train my pac on bars because it is really fun to flip between the bars and float for a second. I also have been training it for a while now so I am able to make little changes each time and notice more as I do the skill
Dream Skill? I would love to do a triple twist on floor. I love twisting and I feel like it would be a cool and unique skill to try.
What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is being able to go to the gym and work on something that I love to do. I am able to be myself and make goals for myself to achieve. I have fun everyday at the gym with my friends and teammates and it is always something I look forward to.
What is your favorite meet to compete at? Why?My favorite meet to compete at is Athlete Warrior Challenge because it is our home meet so a bunch of people from our gym come and a lot of my family is able to make it too. There is always so much cheering and excitement at the meet.
Biggest accomplishment in gymnastics so far? My biggest accomplishment was when I became Eastern National Champion on bars, beam, and with my Region 5 team.
Who do you most admire in the sport of gymnastics? I admire Jordyn McIntyre. She is always at the gym helping me to have a positive attitude and to focus on the good. She helps me with my nutrition and I was able to coach with her throughout the summer. She always reminds me to have fun with gymnastics and she is always there to cheer very loud for you. She was very accomplished in her gymnastics career, but she is also an overall great person.
What is your favorite Region 5 Insider Feature or Series? I like Breaking it Down Features. I think it is cool to see how other gymnasts prepare for their skills or what they think about during them. Some of the things they say can also help me if I have never thought of it that way before.
What is your go to playlist or song before meets? I have a playlist on my phone with a bunch of songs I listen to before meets, it is mostly music to pump me up, and I also have some inspirational music.We have a bar playlist at gym, and some of the songs from that are on there. My favorite to listen to is Rise by Katy Perry
3 Things you could not live without? 3 thing I could not live without would be my family and friends(including my dogs), my fuzzy sweatpants, and my mom
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why? If I could be any animal I would want to be an elephant. They are my favorite animal, but they are also so big, and I am so small. I think I am just curious to see what it would be like to be that big, and they seem like such calm and beautiful animals.
5 Most Important or Must have Items in your gym bag? The 5 most imporant must have items in my gym bag are water, grips, green band, lacrosse ball, snack
Do you have any pre-meet rituals or superstitions? Yes, I always listen to my playlist before meets, and I also visualize my routines while I listen to my music. Before each meet I also say a quick prayer to have a safe and fun time competing
What do you like to do outside of Gymnastics? In the summer I love to boat. We live right near the lake, so my family and I spend a lot of time out on the water. We ski and tube, but it is also nice to just be out in the sun, or swim in the water.
Most embarrassing meet moment or gymnastics moment? My most embarrassing meet moment was when I was at level 8 regionals, and I was up on the podium and I passed out.
If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you do or try? I would want to try silks or hand balancing. I don’t know if it is a sport or not, but it looks so pretty and really fun. The people who do it are so talented, and it is a pretty cool trick to have up your sleeve.
Which athletes (any sport) do you respect the most and why? I respect any athlete who gives 100% to the sport they do, the ones that make their sport a big part of your life. It takes a lot of work and time, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who does this.
Most Memorable Gymnastics or JO Nationals Moment? I was first up on bars and it was our first event, I was also one of the first people to compete at the session. I was nervous because it was my first event and I was at nationals. I had a pretty good warm up, but I wanted to hit and start off strong for the team. I went and I hit a really good bar routine for me and I was super proud of myself, and I ended up the bar champion
What is the most valuable piece of advice or wisdom your coach has given you? You can’t get down on yourself when you make a mistake, nothing good will come from that. You have to realize your mistake, and try to learn from it – figure out how to fix it or change it for next time.
Bonus Question: Tell me something interesting about yourself…. I want to become fluent in Spanish, and hopefully have a career in sports medicine or physical therapy.