Did you think it was possible to juggle school, friends, and everyday pressures, all while trying out and making the Olympic team? How about doing all of this before the age of 18? The girlshealth.gov web site is very excited to spotlight a determined young lady, Courtney Kupets, who is a member of the US Women Gymnastics Team. We believe Courtney is a role model for any young woman determined to achieve even when faced with challenges!
Why did you choose your profession?
I started gymnastics because of my sister. She is two years older than me and I wanted to do the same things she was doing. She is still a gymnast at the University of Georgia.
What are the events that you participate in?
I compete in all four events; uneven bars, the balance beam, the vault and the floor.
Which event is your favorite?
Right now I don’t have a favorite. They always seem to change.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a gymnast?
There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is the amount of time we have to spend at the gym. We spend a lot of time away from our families and friends too. But there are also advantages like we get to meet a lot of different people when we travel and compete. So that’s a lot of fun.
Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on things that other girls get to do?
Not really because I don’t do home school—I go to public school and my coach wants us to go to dances and do things with my friends outside of the gym. So I still get to do a lot of things other than gymnastics.
Do you have a role model? Who is it and why?
I don’t really have one person who is my role model. But I do look up to the older girls on my team like Elise Ray and Erinn Dooley.
What were the Olympic trials like?
Stressful and exciting. It was great to be there with all of the other athletes and to watch the competiton.
Did you have any doubts about your performance because of your injury?
No, not really. I didn’t really think that I would have problems because of my Achilles injury. I just went out there and did what I had been doing during practices. I never thought that the injury would really be a big deal. Ashley, my sister, broke her foot a lot when she was younger and she never had a problem, so I never thought about it.
Name some challenges you have overcome as a gymnast.
Fear. When you have to do a new skill and you’re not sure what it’s going to be like or how you’re going to do it, it can be kind of scary. But you stay determined, you get over the fear and you feel better about yourself. Besides that, I get tired a lot. During the summer I am at the gym from 7:00 – 10:00 am and then again from 2:00 – 6:00 pm. But even when school starts we’ll be at the gym in the morning until 9:00 am and then again when school is out until about 6:00 at night again.
What do you like to do besides gymnastics? What are your hobbies?
I like to go shopping, hang out with my friends and lay out by the pool.
What advice would you give young girls today regarding their health?
I think it’s important for girls to concentrate on eating a wide variety of foods and a balanced diet. Even though I don’t like to eat vegetables, I eat them because they’re good for me. But I eat sweets too. I just make sure I balance it all out. Girls shouldn’t be too hard on themselves about the way they look—that’s not what matters.
If you knew that you were going to make the US Women’s Gymnastics team four years ago, would you have done anything differently to improve your health?
Well, I’ve always been pretty healthy, so there’s nothing that I’d really do to change that. Since I work out a lot, that’s kept me in shape. I also try to eat right, even though it’s hard sometimes.
What advice would you give girls that would like to pursue what you do?
I’d tell them that there are so many benefits to competing in sports. That it’s important to stick with it even when it gets hard and to be determined. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s hard work. It’s worth it in the end.
Content last reviewed August 01, 2004
Page last updated August 01, 2004