Jackie Congress- Founder and Editor.
As a wiggly 4-year-old, I remember being brought along while my mom attended physical therapy for an injured knee. I would sit on the floor and color in full splits and road toad position, because clearly that’s a natural way to relax. My mom became friends with a woman at PT who had a similar knee injury, and lucky for me she was the owner of a local gymnastics academy. At her encouragement, I started classes and worked my way up to pre-team and eventually competed as a level 10 in high school. I absolutely loved being a gymnast and like most 8-year-olds involved in the sport at the time, I was mesmerized by the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It was during those games that I became a fan in addition to an athlete. I greatly enjoy staying involved in the sport from a spectator’s perspective and hope this website allows me to give a little back to the sport I love.
I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2009 and currently attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. I’m a 4th year medical student and will be finishing my degree up in the spring. I plan to become a child psychiatrist because I love people’s stories and think that mental health is crucial to one’s overall well-being. It was during Christmas break of my second year in medical school that I first started the gymnewstics twitter, mostly because I didn’t know what to do with myself when I wasn’t studying all the time! This website was created right after the 2012 Olympics and though school sometimes prevents me from posting as often as I’d like, I’m very proud of the interviews, stories, and opinion pieces myself, Katy, and Elisa have created over the past year. Outside of gymnastics and medicine, I love to travel and have visited 13 countries so far. I also enjoy staying active; I ran my first half marathon in the spring and hope to get involved with adult gymnastics in the future.
Favorite Food- Sushi and dark chocolate.
Favorite Musician/Band- Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert.
Dream Job- Child Psychiatrist…even better would be one who works with the U.S. National Team.
Favorite Movie- Remember the Titans; Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Super Power you wish you had- Teleporting-it would be amazing to be able to live anywhere and still pop in for a quick dinner with family, afternoon at the lake with friends, etc.
Favorite skill to perform- Inverted endos on bars. I loved being able to use my crazy flexibility to my advantage and thought stalder-type skills were the most fun to perform.
Dream travel destination- I’ll go with New Zealand. It just looks gorgeous!
Favorite gymnast- Current favorites: Kyla Ross, McKayla Maroney, Victoria Moors, Larisa Iordache. All-time favorites: Vanessa Atler, Lilia Podkopayeva, Svetlana Boginskaya, Hollie Vise, Andreea Raducan, Courtney Kupets.
Katy Jones- Lead writer and Flashback Friday extraordinair.
I wasn’t quite old enough to fully remember or comprehend the 1992 Games, but my parents have told me that soon after they aired, I decided I wanted to become a gymnast like Shannon Miller and “swing on the bars.” If I had known ahead of time about the difficulty of shampooing one’s hair with a rip, I might have retracted that statement. So I started gymnastics around age 5 and competed for 12 years growing up, but my interest didn’t really turn into a passion until 1996 during the Atlanta Olympics. And how could it not? It was filled with the inspiring Mag 7 performance, the complete package that was Lilia Podkopayeva, the drama and history of the Romanians, and the overall commanding presence of Svetlana Khorkina and her teammates. It’s that same quality that I still love about today’s gymnasts from Khorkina’s home country, and perhaps is why their team has been my favorite for so long. And despite its ever-fluctuating state, I’ll always have a soft spot for Russian gymnastics because it’s what made me fall in love with the sport.
I graduated in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Technical Communication from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, and love going back to visit whenever I can. Even though my degree is more on the technical writing side, I absolutely love contributing to GymNewstics and having the chance to creatively write about our wonderful sport! I work full time, but I love spending my downtime blogging and falling down the gymnastics rabbit hole of YouTube. Outside of the “gymternet,” I’m usually hanging out with my husband and our dog Oscar (the name “Tsuk” was unfortunately vetoed) or trying to trick myself into thinking I actually enjoy running.
Favorite Food- Chobani yogurt
Favorite Musician/Band- Adele, Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Regina Spektor
Dream Job- Wouldn’t we all love the chance to be a gymnastics commentator?
Favorite Movie- The Devil Wears Prada, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook
Super Power you wish you had- Flying would make long commutes so much easier!
Favorite skill to perform- I always liked doing gainers off the side of the beam
Dream travel destination- I got asked this during a “get to know you” game on the first day of school in 7th grade and I proudly answered, “Deva, because that’s where the best gymnasts train.” Now that would be neat and all, but I think I’ll amend my answer to Greece.
Favorite gymnast- I have two “all-time” favorites: Aliya Mustafina and Andreea Raducan. Other favorites from the past include Svetlana Khorkina, Simona Amanar, Yelena Produnova, Shawn Johnson, Vanessa Atler, and Viktoria Karpenko.
Elisa Emanuelli- Lead writer, specializing in European Gymnastics.
At 5ft I fit right in with gymnasts, yet my complete lack of balance and flexibility shattered my ambition of becoming one long ago. Instead I watch gymnastics from the sideline and made it my business to learn as much as possible from a couch instead of a gym. Vanessa Ferrari’s success made me want to follow the sport more closely, especially in my home country of Italy. The sad fact is that gymnastics in Italy doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and national meets are not televised nor livestreamed. This leads me to watch most international meets and other countries nationals to fill that gymnastic void.
I am Italian, but I have spent my entire life moving from country to country. I am currently in Scotland studying Medical Sciences and when I’m not in university I can be found either in Kansas, Italy or France (in other words I spend most of my life in airports). My incredible lack of coordination, balance, and flexibility made me useless at most land based sports, despite my best efforts to prove otherwise! That is why most of my sporting talent lies in the water. I was a competitive swimmer most of my teenage year and now I am water skiing captain at my university. This year, to keep me active during the water-skiing off season, I want to give trampolining a try. Considering my gymnastics abilities I am bound to end up in a cast, but I am excited for this new adventure!
Favorite Musician/Band- Bastille
Dream Job- [Insert country that will hire me] gymnastics national team physician
Favorite Movie- Forrest Gump
Super Power you wish you had- Teleportation (no more buying plane tickets for me!)
Favorite Skill- Double Layout
Dream Travel Destination- Australia
Favorite Gymnast- Its hard for me to pick an all-time favourite, but right now I am loving McKayla Maroney’s comeback
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