Talented and Driven is how her coach describes her; Team Oriented is how UCLA describes her; Mental Toughness is what she is known for in USA Gymnastics, but here in Region 5 she is Jordyn Wieber of Dewitt, Michigan.
Jordyn Wieber walked into Geddert’s Twistars USA at the age of 2 or 3, her parents noticed that she had unusually bigger muscles than all the other kids her age, so Rita and Dave Wieber enrolled Jordyn in some fun classes at the gym. She however, ended up stopping to do dance, but that was not enough for Jordyn and by the age of 4 she had returned to Twistars USA. John Geddert had taken notice of this young gymnast and handpicked her for his Silverstars program.
According to John Geddert:
“Jordyn was the athlete that coaches dream about. The one that not only has physical talent above and beyond even the exceptional mortals, but also the inner desire to use that talent to the best of her ability. Never a discipline problem, never a motivational problem, never any training integrity issues … she was always focused and determined to get the most out of every training day. She was the athlete that would remind you that she needed to train (if there were a few off days in a row scheduled)”
Jordyn was born for Gymnastics at just 7 years old, Wieber qualified to the 2002 National TOP 7-8-Year-Old Diamond Team. The following year, she competed at the 2003 Fall State Championships where she won vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around. In 2004, Jordyn competed in the Michigan State Championships placing second in the All-Around. By the time she was 10, Jordyn had already qualified to Level 10, in 2006 she was the younger competitor at the JO National Championships placing second in the All-Around.
“Jordyn qualified to her very first Championships of the USA as a 10 year old (she would turn 11 by the meet date). At that meet we turned in the CD of her floor music which was labled JORDYN WIEBER Level 7. That is an indication how fast she flew through the optional levels. In just over 1 years time she advanced from Level 7-8-9… did JO Nationals at Level 10 (2nd AA) and then qualified to Championships.”–John Geddert
In the summer of 2006 Jordyn qualified as an International Elite, she competed at the US Classic and US National Championships placing 9th in the All-Around. Jordyn began to steadily climb up the Junior ranks and make a name for herself, in 2007 she finished 5th in the AA and 2nd on Balance Beam at the US Classic, she then went on to place 3rd in the AA, Bars, 2nd on the Vault and 5th on Floor at the Visa Championships. In 2007 Jordyn would also compete in her first international assignment, Jordyn represented team USA at the Junior Pan American Championships placing 1st in the Team, Uneven Bars and Balance Beam; she also placed 2nd in the AA and 3rd on the Floor.
In 2008 Jordyn was still a Junior Elite, she would not become a Senior until 2011. In the Olympic Year Jordyn competed in the U.S Classic placing 1st in the all four events plus the AA, she qualified to the 2008 Visa Championships where again she placed 1st in the AA, Vault & Floor; 2nd on Balance Beam and 3rd on Uneven Bars. Jordyn would qualify to her 3rd Junior National Team. Jordyn earned a few international assignments in 2008, she was on the 1st place team in Jesolo, Italy and she took 1st in the AA as well. she then went onto compete at the Top Gym in Belgium again placing 1st in the AA.
Jordyn, being on the National Team, watched and trained with the girls who made up the 2008 Olympic Team. Many of them were her friends and mentors, so it was difficult to watch this amazing group of athletes be pushed out of the Gold Medal by the Chinese. John Geddert recalls a moment he had with Jordyn after that team finals.
“I remember discussing the 2008 team at the Olympics when they were defeated by the Chinese in Bejing. Jordyn stated as a matter of fact not to worry cause “they” (not she) would take care of that in 2012. She was an athlete with a vision, extremely goal oriented and inspired by challenging her own abilities.”
From the time Jordyn saw her American Teammates defeated in Beijing it was as if her sole purpose was to achieve what they did not and bring that Gold Medal back to the USA. She worked the next four years with that purpose in mind, she was very team oriented and sure of what Team USA could and would do the next time around.
Jordyn started off 2009 competing in her first American Cup competition, as a Junior. Jordyn was invited to compete with the seniors to gain experience. According to John, “this meet was to be her coming out party. This is the meet where she competed her first Amanar which gave her an immediate lead in the competition. She also competed a layout Double Double off bars which she darted. It was if she was born to be on the big stage.”
After the American Cup she competed in the Junior Team Cup of International Gymnix, in Montreal Canada where she placed 1st in all four events as well as the AA and Team. However, this would be the last meet Jordyn would participate in in 2009. In August she sustained an injury that would keep her out of the US Classic & US Championships. Jordyn battled a few injuries in 2009 & 2010, she competed in April 2010 in the Pacific Rim Championships, Melbourne, Australia where in the Junior Division. Jordyn would make her return to US competition by competing at the CoverGirl Classic placing 1st in the AA, Vault and Uneven Bars, 2nd on Floor and 6th on the Beam. She qualified herself to the Visa Championships later in the summer, however in warm ups Jordyn sustained sprains to both her ankles on her beam dismount and withdrew from the competition. It was more important for Jordyn to be ready and healthy going into her Senior debut the next year.
Jordyn had been on the Junior Elite scene for a long time, everyone in the gymnastics community was ready for her to become a Senior, in 2011 that finally happened Jordyn was now a senior elite and ready to compete on the biggest stage in the world. 2011 started out at the American Cup meet, there was a bit of controversy surrounding Jordyn’s participation in the meet. Some delegation, specifically the Russians, were not pleased that she was competing. Typically, to be eligible to compete in this type of competition, [a world cup competition] you were required to participate in the previous world competition, however the host country [by rule] could pick athletes to full the roster if they need too. This is what they did, Jordyn was invited to participate in the competition, she would be facing the 2010 World Champion Aliya Mustafina from Russia. John shared with me a moment from the meet that is somewhat comical.
“The Russian delegation was not happy to see her there and the cold icy stares become somewhat of a joke. I asked Jordyn if she notices the icy stares from Aliya, and she said “yes she had been doing that all during training and pre meet warm ups” Does if bother you I asked…. Nah I just ignore her.”
This was very classy of Jordyn, nothing bothered her. she was unfazed by the other athletes on the floor. Jordyn and Mustafina went back and forth all night. However in the end Jordyn came out on top to be the 2011 American Cup Champion beating Aliya by the smallest of margins.
The 2011 season continued with the City of Jesolo Trophy, Jesolo, Italy where Jordyn placed 1st with the Team, 2nd in the AA, Vault and Beam and 3rd on the Uneven Bars. The summer elite season started with the CoverGirl Classic where Jordyn only competed two events Bars and Beam, placing 1st on both. She qualified to the 2011 Visa Championships, where she was the clear favorite to in the event. Jordyn in her senior championships debut placed 1st in the AA, Uneven Bars and Floor as well as 3rd on the Beam.
Following championships Jordyn was named to her first Senior National Team and was invited to the 2011 World Team Selection Camp. Jordyn was selected to represent the USA in the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Going into the 2011 Worlds the United States was the favorites even though they placed 2nd to the Russians in 2010. Jordyn and Viktoria Komova were both favored to win the All-Around, everyone knew this would be the exciting competition. Both athletes were at the top of the Juniors in the previous years, so it would make for a great match up in the finals.
In true USA tradition the team would onto to win the gold medal in the Team Finals. This would be the 3rd consecutive time the USA has one the Team Gold Medal the year before the Olympic Games (2003, 2007 previously). I remember watching the All-Around finals, the competition between Jordyn and Viktoria was intense, each having their small errors and hit routines, however in the end Jordyn would become the 2011 World AA Champion defeating Komova 59.382 to 59.34. It was an incredible moment to see Jordyn realize she won, the emotion was so real. After winning Jordyn stated:
“I was so surprised. I wasn’t expecting to come out on top but I am really happy and glad that I did enough on that floor routine to make it. To come in here and achieve one of my goals that I have had since I was a little kid is so exciting. I am very happy to have this gold medal around my neck.”—IG Magazine
After her many achievements in 2011 Jordyn was a finalist for the James E. Sullivan award, which is presented annually to an amateur athlete by the Amateur Athletic Union.
As 2011 came to an end, Jordyn returned to the gym to prepare for the 2012 season. The 2012 season is what she has been working for…The Olympic Games! Jordyn started 2012 the same was she started 2012 competing at the American Cup, where is won her 3rd American Cup title, which ties her with Mary Lou Retton for the most American Cup titles for a female athlete. In 2012 Jordyn competed two events at the Secret Classic Beam & Bars placing 1st and 8th respectively. She went on to the Visa Championships capturing her 2nd AA title in a row and placing 2nd on the Floor as well as 5th on the Bars and the Beam. She qualified to her 2nd Senior National Team, and onto the Kelloggs Pacific Rim Championships Team, where she placed 1st with the Team and in the AA as well as 6th on the Beam.
After a great start to the 2012 season, Jordyn qualified to the 2012 US Team Olympic Trials. This meet was important because for the first time since 2000 they Selection Committee would be announcing the Olympic Team immediately after the competition, there would be no strenuous selection camp this time around. As in 2008, the athlete that placed first at the trials automatically secured herself a spot on the Olympic Team, Jordyn wanted this spot and many thought she would get this spot, however Jordyn placed second at the US Olympic Trials so she had to sit after the competition and wait to hear her name called by the selection committee. Sitting in a room waiting for someone else to decide whether or not your dream will come true can be pretty nerve-wracking according to the girls. After what probably felt like an eternity, the selection committee came in and announced the Team. Jordyn had made the 2012 US Olympic Team, once the announcement was made the girls had to run out to the floor, there were given their warm-ups, floors and ushered to the main stage. The girls were incredibly emotional, many crying out of relief, joy and pure happiness. I know watching at home we were all crying as well! Being from Michigan and watching Jordyn grow up, knowing her coaches and her gym it feels like she is all of our teammate and it felt great to have someone from out state and our Region achieve this amazing goal.
For Jordyn, the Olympic Games did not go quite as planned. After a few mistakes in qualifications she failed to qualify to the All-Around Final despite being the 4th best gymnast in the world. Because of the two per country rule Jordyn an emotional Jordyn would have to sit in the stands and watch her teammates compete in the biggest competition of their lives. Jordyn being the class act that she is and always a very focused and team oriented person, took a few moments to herself that evening in her room then her teammates had her out of the room and back to her cheery self. This would be very important, for team finals.
When team USA walked into team finals, Jordyn was ready to lead the USA team to the gold medal. One of the most memorable moments of the team fins for me was watching Jordyn lead off the team on vault. The moment she stuck her vault and came running back to her teammates with that enormous smile on her face, you instantly knew she had put the qualifications behind her and that today was all about the team. Jordyn heavily contributed to the team total, ending with a crowd pleasing floor routine in the final rotation. Everyone remembers the famous picture of Jordyn and Aly after they saw TEAM USA on top of the scoreboard, those moments are some of the most memorable. Team USA won an historic gold medal, the 2nd one in Olympic History and the first one on foreign soil. Those girls had so much to be proud of that night and still today. Jordyn would become a great cheerleader and team supporter for the next few days until she competed in the floor finals later in the week. Jordyn who was actually competing with a stress fracture in her leg ended up finishing 4th in the floor finals. she gave a crowd pleasing routine, full of high energy and great tumbling however she had a few missteps, but other than that she finished her Olympic Games with a Team Gold Medal and being the 4th best floor worker in the world.
After the Olympic concluded Jordyn went with her teammates on the Kelloggs Tour of Champions that traveled around the United States performing shows in almost 40 different cities. Jordyn had many great experiences after the Olympics, she was able to dance with the rest of her teammates along with Shawn Johnson on Dancing with the Stars, she also did appearances, camps, awards shows and had the opportunity to meet President Obama at the White House.
Once the whirlwind of being Olympic Champions ended, Jordyn returned to Gedderts Twistars in Michigan to being training again, with hopes of competing. Many of her teammates competed at the 2009 US Classic, Championship and the Worlds. However, Jordyn’s comeback did not materialize like everyone thought it would. Jordyn ended up leaving Twistars and Michigan to embark on the next chapter of her life at UCLA.
Since Jordyn became a professional athlete in 2011 prior to the Olympic Games, she gave up her NCAA eligibility so she would not be able to compete in gymnastics for UCLA. Prior to arriving at UCLA Jordyn had spoke to Val Kondos-Fields, the UCLA Head Coach, about her options and how she could still be part of the team. Jordyn would become the UCLA Bruins team manager. Jordyn however, was pulling double duty for her first year at UCLA, she trained elite and manager the team.
Every day at 6 a.m. Jordyn would train alone in the Wooden Center, then when the team arrived at 8am to start their training hers would be over and she would then become the mat puller, board setter and cheerleader. She loved her dual identity, she loved being part of the UCLA Team, but she was also training as an elite trying to make a comeback. Jordyn one day realized that she could not train for the 2016 Olympics and be on the road all the time with the team, so she had a tough decision to make. Miss Val spoke when Jordyn walked into her office to talk about this decision. “She came to me one day with tears in her eyes,” . “I figured, She’s done, she’s out of here, she’s going to get ready for Rio.” Instead, Jordyn told Miss Val the opposite: “I’ve decided I’m not going to Rio. There’s no way I’m leaving my team.” —Flo Gymnastics Video
Jordyn had decided her commitment to her team was her main priority, she thrived in the environment. She was getting her college gymnastics experience in a different way than most college athletes. Jordyn would officially retire from gymnastics, she was the first member of the Fierce Five to retire and never look back. Jordyn is in the gym once again preparing for the 2016 Kelloggs Tour of Gymnastics Champions, she will be on the road again in a leotard with there former teammates performing in front of a huge crowds every night.
Jordyn, who is studying psychology at UCLA will become a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Bruins next season. Maybe one day Jordyn will become the head coach of UCLA, I know Miss Val could see it happening, Jordyn has such a love and connection to the UCLA Program. I could see it happening as well, but until then Jordyn is a student-coach trying to finish up her undergrad degree before taking the next steps to another chapter of her life.
Jordyn Wieber is the pride of Michigan and one of Reigon 5s most successful gymnasts. Jordyn has earned many awards and honors as an athlete. She is a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, Region 5 Hall of Fame and most recently the Lansing Sports Hall of Fame.
“Jordyn was a true die hard member of Region 5. During a geography class in grade school the lesson of the day was the different regions of the United States (Midwest, Southeast, Northeast etc). The teacher asked the class which region Michigan was in and Jordyn raised her hand to answer….. ” Michigan is in Region 5 along with Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky she proudly stated…”
Jordyn, will always be a valued member of Region 5 she has contributed so much to not only Region, but Michigan as well. Jordyn always gives back to the Region that she loves by doing camps, speaking engagements or being involved in any way she can when she can. Jordyn has certainly inspired the next generation of Region 5 athletes, almost every little girl in Michigan wanted to be like Jordyn Wieber she is everyone favorite Gymnast. It is fun to have a girl from a small town in Michigan be so extremely successful on the main stage. Watching Jordyn accomplish her dreams and so much more proves to every young athlete that it is possible to have big dreams and with hard work those dreams can be fulfilled.
Thank you to Jordyn for always being a mentor and and inspiration to all young athletes. I wish Jordyn all the best of luck in anything and everything she decided to pursue in life. I know because of her gymnast and her successes she will be amazing and find success at anything she puts her mind too.
Here are Jordyns routine from the 2012 Olympic Games:
***Imagines from Google Search, Bio and information from John Geddert, Sports Illustrated, Wikipedia and Flo Gymnastics. Videos provided by Youtube Arturo Abimael, TheGymnastic101 and Gabriel McDonough account***