The latest news from the US camp is that fan favorite Alicia Sacramone has officially retired from elite gymnastics. This comes as no surprise, really, but it is still sad to hear the official words. Alicia will be missed for her powerful, dynamic gymnastics, her obvious leaderships skills and her incredible ability to come back from adversity. What i will remember her most for is her infectiously charming personality and that laugh.
One of our US writers will be following up this article with a better tribute than I could make to this star of the gymnastics world, but I leave with you with some lovely quotes from gymnastics folk and from Alicia herself from the official press release for now.
“Alicia has had a major impact on women’s gymnastics,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Her personality, sense of humor and leadership skills were important ingredients in the success of our team. Alicia is a strong individual who knows what she wants and is not afraid to put herself out there to achieve it. I am confident she will be involved in the sport for a very long time.”
“It has truly been an honor to be a part of and represent USA Gymnastics for the last decade,” said Sacramone. “I want to thank my parents, coaches, family and the gymnastics community for supporting me through the years and giving me many lasting memories. I’ve been so blessed to have had such a long career and to have made so many friendships with my teammates, fans and coaches along the way.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the talent given to me by God and a strong work ethic engrained in me through years of commitment and training,” said Sacramone. “Gymnastics has taught me many life lessons and has shaped me into the person I am today, and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. Even though I’m hanging up my leotard, I’m not stepping away from the sport completely. I plan to stay involved as much as I can through coaching, creating choreography and commentating at NCAA gymnastics competitions.”
“Alicia has been an integral part of the women’s success for the last two Olympic cycles,” said Peter Vidmar, chairman of the Board for USA Gymnastics and two-time Olympic gold medalist. “She has thrilled fans with her powerful vaults, exciting beam routines and dynamic floor exercise. Alicia’s talent, determination and perseverance have inspired her teammates and many young gymnasts, as well as enabled her to acquire 10 World medals, the most by a U.S. gymnast. We will miss seeing her perform, but we are glad she will continue to be a part of the USA Gymnastics family and wish her the best as she begins the next chapter.”
“Alicia was special, and determined to accomplish the goals she set for herself,” said Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator. “Alicia had a great career, full of success that was well earned. She also showed her strength of character by the dignified way she handled the moments that fell short of her goals. Alicia became an excellent team leader, helping the younger generation understand the standards of international gymnastics. I always will remember Alicia with a smile on my face, and I wish her the best with her future endeavors.”
“Alicia is one of the most talented gymnasts I have ever coached,” said Mihai Brestyan of Brestyan’s American Gymnastics, who began coaching Sacramone at 9 years of age. “You could see right away that she was super-talented. Alicia combined power and beauty in her gymnastics, which is very rare. She had everything it takes to perform gymnastics at the highest level – brains, elegance, power, artistry, execution, drive, determination and desire.
“Alicia was always a leader,” said Brestyan. “She was a natural with her personality and huge heart, taking care of anyone who needed help. She had respect for the sport, and gained the respect of others for her commitment and playing an important part of the team for two Olympic cycles. Alicia is amazing and has left her mark on the sport of gymnastics. We will miss her but we wish her only the best.”
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