We have reached the end of our 2017 Level 9 Eastern National Championships coverage. Region 5 ended the weekend the same way it started with a National All-Around Champion being crowned. Olivia Kavanaugh, of Wright’s Gymnastics in Indiana, competing in the last session of the weekend took the top spot for Region 5 becoming the 2017 Level 9 Eastern National AA Champion and the 8th Region 5 athlete to win the All-Around Title. Olivia, who is a senior, competed in the last meet of her career in Diamondale. Let’s get to know Olivia a little better and how it was representing Region 5 at Nationals for the first/last time.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! How does it feel to be the 2017 Eastern National Senior 8 All-Around Champion? It was incredible! This is the first time I have qualified to nationals. I am a senior in high school and to end my gymnastics career like this was perfect.
Tell us how your meet went today? Walk us through each moment of your day, warm ups, events etc…. I was there watching my teammates compete in the morning session. Watching them got me really excited for my session. It was bittersweet at the beginning of warm-ups because I knew this was my last competition of my gymnastics career. Throughout warm-ups, my region 5 team got to know one another. March-in was a very cool experience…electrifying. My first event was vault. This is the hardest event for me, so I was glad to have it first. Warm-ups went really well, and my two competition vaults were even better. It felt great to do well on my first event of the day. My next event, bars, is my favorite event. Warm-ups went extremely well, and when I landed me double-back dismount in my competition routine, I knew I couldn’t have asked for a better routine to end on at Nationals. Next, we were off to beam. I had a little bit of a rough warm-up because I was having a difficult time sticking my series. However, when it came time to my judged routine, I was able to stick my series as well as my other skills. My last event was floor. Knowing this was my last routine I would ever compete, I wanted to leave it all out there on the floor. I had a lot of energy (I stepped out of bounds on my first pass, a double back). I finished the routine strong and was able to stick my 1 1/2 front pike. After landing this pass and hearing my teammates cheering for me, I realized that that was one of the moments you want to remember for the rest of your life. Even after finishing the competition, I knew I had done well, but I had no idea that I had won. All of my teammates and coaches and even my family knew that I had won, but none of them told me. When they announced my name as the all-around champion I was both excited yet so astonished at the same time.
What do you normally do between events to stay focused and ready for the next event? Between events, I usually envision my routines in my head and go through/over the corrections that my coaches have given me to stay focused and ready for the next event.
Tell us about the atmosphere of the meet compared to regular season meets you have been too. There was much more energy in the atmosphere at Nationals compared to the regular season meets. The crowd was much more involved and it was really awesome getting to know the girls on my region 5 team.
What is it like being part of Region 5 at Eastern Nationals? (be descriptive) Being on the region 5 team, I could feel that everyone had the same goal…win as a team. There were lots of cheering and the coaches all worked together. I could tell that everyone was proud to be a part of the region 5 team.
How has your experience been here at Nationals? What have you been doing besides competing? It has been incredible. From training day to competition day, I enjoyed every moment of it. All of my teammates qualified to Nationals either as competitors or alternates, so we did a lot of team building activities. We went hiking one day and did the challenges that were there (such as having to get our whole team over a wall).
When the meet is over what is or what was the first thing you did to celebrate your win? The first thing I did to celebrate my win was I went out to eat with my family and teammates. When we got back to the gym on Monday, there was a little celebration for me and my other teammates that also placed at Nationals.
Other than becoming National Champion, what was one highlight of the meet for you today? Another highlight for me was getting to meet a new group of awesome girls and compete with them.
Anything crazy or funny happen during your meet today? Our region 5 team took team bathroom breaks between events, so you would just see a line of girls running in and out of the gym together (not sure if you consider this funny or crazy).
How does Region 5 compare to the other Regions out on the competition Floor? What sets Region 5 apart? On the region 5 team, there was so much more cheering. Region 5 has so much fun on the competition floor because there is a team effort to win. We were focused on the team more than ourselves. It really is a team. Everyone works together.
Who inspired you the most today? What did they say to you? How did you get amped up and motivated today? My mom inspired me the most that day. Before the competition, she told me to have fun and relax and that I got it. (Confidence)
I got motivated for the competition by listening to music and watching my teammates compete in the session before me.
Congratulations to Olivia, her coaches and her family on a successful gymnastics career and finishing it out on top. Congratulations on graduating from High School and moving onto the next chapter of your story.