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20 Questions with Universals Jenna Olshefski

December is here! This CRAZY 2020 is a few weeks shy of finally being over! Please make sure to yell JUMANJI at Midnight on NEW YEARS! Anyways, we only have a few more Tuesdays left in 2020 to feature some of our most talented Level 10 athletes. Today we are recognizing Jenna Olshefski of Universal in Ohio. Jenna first caught my eye when she won the 2018 Level 9 Eastern National All-Around & Uneven Bars Titles in Rochester New York. Jenna, who is small but mighty, has been making waving as a Level 10 ever since those National Championships. I absolutely LOVE watching this athlete on the competition floor, she is fantastic on every event. However, her balance beam dismount is by far one of my favorites it is so unique and rarely seen at this level (Click Here). As we embark on a new season with uncertainty, I am looking forward to seeing what 2021 [and beyond] holds for this talented young athlete. Jenna, is always on my list of “ones to watch” from Ohio and this year will not be any different. Let’s get to know Jenna a little better as she prepares to head into the unknown that is 2021 as she begins her journey to the 2021 National Championships. 

How did you get into gymnastics? How old were you? I was always crazy as a kid and had a ton of energy, so my parents decided to sign me up for a tumble class at a gym near our house. As time passed, I continued to enjoy going to the gym and stuck with it ever since! I started to move up to rec classes when my coach asked if I ever considered the team program. I never gave a thought about taking gymnastics seriously but willingly jumped into the team program!

What is your favorite event? My favorite event is either vault or beam. I love the power that goes into vault but I have also always loved beam just because it’s fun to do new skills but also incorporate dance in the routine. 

 What is your favorite skill to train/compete? What is your dream skill? One of my favorite skills is my full-out on floor, which I have recently started working on for the 2021 season. Before I started training my full-out, I always wanted to do an E pass on floor whether it was a full in, full out, or double layout. I’m excited that I made that dream a reality! As for now, my dream skill is to compete a Yurchenko 1 ½ on vault, which is also currently in the works!! 

What is your favorite part of gymnastics? My favorite part of gymnastics is doing what I love surrounded with the people I love. Gymnastics is such a rewarding sport, once you’ve put the work in. There is nothing better than achieving your goals by competing a skill, or just training a fun skill with your coaches and teammates by your side lifting you up the whole time. The relationships I have made with my teammates is an unforgettable bond that I am so thankful for! 

What is one of your biggest accomplishments In gymnastics so far?One of my biggest accomplishments so far is becoming an All Around/Beam National Champion at Easterns in 2018. 

What was one of the first things that you did when you were able to get back into the gym from quarantine? The first thing we did once we got back into the gym was a lot of cardio, strength, and conditioning to get our bodies back into “gymnastics shape”. Although I worked out over quarantine to maintain my strength and shape, actually working out in the gym was a challenge at first since it had been so long. 

Talk about the struggles you face getting back into the gym after being off for so long? My gym was closed for about 3 months. Like most gymnasts, I have never had that much time off of practice since I started gymnastics at the age of 4. Getting back into the swing of things after that break went pretty well for me. As I was home for so long, I began to miss gymnastics more than I could imagine which made me more motivated to work hard to both get my skills back and prepare for the next season. During quarantine, I started making goals for what I wanted to accomplish when I could return to the gym. These goals, and my built up motivation started a fire in me to get my skills back, and even add upgrades too 🙂 

What Is one of your most embarrassing Gym or me moments? 
My most embarrassing meet was Circle of Stars in 2019. This was my first ever meet as a level 10. I did not expect the change from level 9 to level 10 to be so difficult. At this meet, I fell on the floor, twice on the beam, and had to scratch bars (which I have never scratched an event before…ever). This experience was definitely not the best I’ve ever had, but it opened my eyes to what to expect in level 10 and showed that it’s okay not to be perfect. From this meet forward, I gradually improved and became more experienced. I ended this season winning beam at the Ohio State Championships and placing 2nd on floor at Region 5 Championships. This experience helped me realize that wherever you start, you can always get better and learn from your mistakes.

What has gymnastics taught you that you will take with you once you’ve moved away from the sport? Gymnastics taught me that hard work truly pays off and if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. 

Who is your biggest role model? Why? My role could be either my mom or dad because they have always worked so hard for everything and constantly provide me with the love and support that I need. 

What is something that makes your gym or team stand out among the rest? My gym stands out because of our close bond and our focus on technique on our skills rather than just doing a big skill to say you did it. Form and technique is always a priority, which helps the execution of our skills. 

 What is your role not only on your level 10 team but in your gym as well?  My role on my team and in my gym is to push my teammates to always do the most they can to benefit themselves. I want to show that working hard pays off in the long run, even though it may not seem like the most fun thing to do in the moment. 

What is your most memorable meet moment? My most memorable moment in gymnastics would have to be winning All Around at Level 9 Eastern Nationals.

How Will you explain the year 2020 to your future kids and grandkids?  2020 is a rough year for everyone, but we made it through. I saw a quote that I really liked that said, “This year, we built up our strength, so next year we can have our success”

What is the most helpful piece of advice or words of wisdom you received from your coaches?  The most helpful piece of advice that my coach has given me is to worry about yourself and your gymnastics rather than looking to see what other people are doing. Although it may be hard to believe sometimes, I also learned that being hard on yourself never had a good outcome because sometimes you are better than you think you are 🙂

How did you stay motivated during quarantine when you were out of the gym? I stayed motivated over quarantine by trying to keep things as normal as possible. I communicated via FaceTime, Snapchat, and Text with my friends every day and kept a workout routine. I motivate myself to workout everyday because I wanted to stay in good shape for  when we returned to practice. I wanted to do the best I could do so when we returned to practice I was ready to get going and make up for the missed time. 

Do you have a nickname if so what is it and what is the story behind it? My nickname is “ski” because when I first came to my gym, my coach, like most people, had trouble pronouncing my last name (Olshefski). She and my teammates started calling me “ski” and to this day it has stuck. 

What really makes you laugh?  My friends make me laugh the most. Both my teammates and school friends have similar senses of humor as me so we can all laugh at just about everything when we are together. 

If you could have one superpower what would it be? I would love to be able to time travel to see people from my past and to see what the world was like a long time ago. I would also love to see my parents growing up as kids! 

What are your goals for this upcoming season? My goals for this year are to make it to Nationals and to be more confident in myself, and my gymnastics.


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