Many of the gymnasts who performed in the Pacific Alliance
Gymnastics Championship at the Stan Sheriff Center face these
difficulties. Gymnastics is primarily a youthful sport, with
many of the competitors either in their teens or early twenties.
No one said it outright, but the general sense is that they
start training at a very young age, so when it is their time
to prove that they are worthy of representing their country,
they will find it easier to do so.
Alicia Sacramone, a first-year member on the women’s
U.S. National Team, is 16-years old and is still a sophomore
in high school. She has already participated in more than a
handful of international and national competitions and is hoping
that all the training that she has done will help catapult
her into the Olympics.
After all the years of putting work into gymnastics, you learn
to love it,” said Sacramone. “It just becomes part
of your life. You can’t see yourself living without it.
It really is a lot of fun. Some days are harder than others,
but you pull yourself out of bed, and once you get to the gym,
it’s not that bad.”
Sacramone’s teammate and fellow 16-year old, Allyse Ishino,
also competed for the U.S. team. In her last meet, in Brazil,
at the 2004 Siegfried Fischer Trophy Championship, she placed
first in the uneven bars and second in the floor routine. She
has been participating in gymnastics since 1991 and is in her
third year on the U.S. National Team.
Being a gymnast takes a lot of hard work, “said Ishino. “I’ve
been doing gymnastics for 13 years. It’s a lot of hard
work and dedication, but in the end it pays off. And it’s
Ishino was drawn to the sport of gymnastics because she
liked all the acrobatic events that a gymnast gets to do
that’s why the fans are attracted to the sport as well.
Gymnastics is very diverse. We do a lot of different kind of
tricks and a lot of people are attracted to it because we do
a lot of flips,” said Ishino.
Ishino’s coach, Steve Rybaki, is hoping that Ishino’s
training will pay off in her attempt to make the 2004 Summer
Olympics. A good showing in the Pacific Alliance Championship
will advance her in the quest to go to Athens.
It’s a possibility for her to make it to the Olympics,” said
Rybaki. “She is always participating at a high level
of gymnastics either at the gym or at training camps. If she
shows here that she can step up to the plate it will really
increase her chance of making the team.”
Rybaki, who has been coaching for 30 years, believes
that one of the biggest reasons why gymnastics is so
athletes is the difficulty that comes with the sport. “Probably
one of the most drawing factors to the athlete is that the
difficulty level of the sport is so high,” said Rybaki. “It’s
a very challenging sport, it’s a very technical sport,
it’s a very physical and demanding sport. “When
you watch it, there is a lot of beauty involved, but you also
have to look at the other side of the coin as to how difficult
the skills are, especially at the elite level. It’s extremely
Rybaki also claims that it takes a special kind of
athlete to compete in gymnastics, an athlete that can
that is very difficult and turn it into an artistic
If [an untrained] person were to try just one single skill
that is on the floor, they could paralyze themselves,” said
Rabiki. “Gymnastics is really appreciating the difficulty
and how the athletes can take that difficulty and make something
artistic out of it.”