Gymnastics gives sophomore opportunity to achieve dreams
By Journalism I student Louise Mitchell, ’21
Her mother dropped her off at the gym when she was only 3 years of age. She walked in wearing her leotard, eager to begin her journey in the sport. Swaying back and forth from the bars, balancing gracefully on the beam, and running and flipping her body on the mat, sophomore Caitlyn Bates has been doing gymnastics ever since.
Her 12 years of experience in gymnastics has led her all the way to competitive level 10 at Universal Gymnastics Inc. and helped shaped who she is today.
The fierce sport of gymnastics has taken over Bates’ life. Though it is mentally challenging and physically draining, she continues the sport because of the passion, drive, and friendships that the sport has given her.
Bates is in the gym five days a week, and while 20 hours a week of gymnastics might be intimidating, she balances school, family, friends, and sleep without a struggle.
”Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “It’s extremely tiring, but my tight schedule has become a lifestyle.”
Also a part of her lifestyle has been Bates’ relationships with with the adults in her life. She said they support her and help her when things get difficult.
“My parents and teachers are super flexible about stuff so if I have to take time off for something they’ll let me,” she said.
Bates has an immense love for the sport despite how mentally and physically draining it can be at times. She pushes herself everyday at practice when training, learning new routines, and tricks.
“I’m always really sore, but I go to lots of chiropractors and take ice baths which helps a lot,” Bates said.
Three years ago, Bates broke her foot and back in sixth grade she had a stress fracture in her back. Apart from the glory of the sport, times get really difficult for Bates.
”It’s insanely tiring, some nights I come home crying and I’m on the verge of quitting,” she said, “but I always pull myself back together even at the hardest of times.”
Bates said her teammates and her relationship with them a large portion of the week.
”Yeah, I’m with my teammates everyday so they are definitely my closest friends in and outside of the gym,” she said. “We’re always traveling all over with each other and working on the same stuff so we’re always there for each other.”
Bates’ hard work is shown in the results of her competitions. Through months of training, Bates has accomplished something of which she can be proud.
“I went to Nationals this year which was extremely exciting for me,” she said. “I placed 8 all around which is out of all the level 10’s in the U.S. and I’m really proud of that.”
Not only did Bates compete in Nationals, but over the years she had competed in several state competitions, regionals, and many more. The past few years have been major successes for Bates.
“Two years ago I placed first at States, and this year I placed second all around,” she shared.
From fundamental practices at Wendy’s Gymnastics when she was a little girl to now, Bates has become a industrious gymnast. Twelve years later and she has placed 8th all around at Nationals, something Bates will always be overjoyed by. Though Bates has come this far, she isn’t ready to give up the sport.
”Right now I’m doing recruiting stuff because I really want to continue gymnastics in college,” she said. “I’m just not sure where yet.”