Mattie Larson was still in diapers when she first climbed onto a gymnastics mat. Now a world-class gymnast with a 2010 silver world medal, the 18 year old hasn’t lost her knack for taking the mat and exceeding expectations.
Mattie Larson is making history … as she competes her way to Team USA. Larson was a first-year senior gymnast, her sport’s equivalent to an Ivy League freshman, when she vied for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, her sport’s equivalent to a quadrennial Rhodes Scholarship. Injuries prevented her from competing in her best events and Larson didn’t earn an Olympic offer. But she said at the time that she appreciated the experience, which felt like three years of senior-level competition in one.
In the nearly three years since the 2008 Olympic trials, Larson has earned two national gold medals and a spin at the 2010 world championships in Rotterdam, for which her team took home the silver.
What’s next for Mattie?
Larson is a freshman at UCLA this after graduating from high school last May. She’s aiming for a spot in the 2012 Olympics, and, as her dad said in 2008, “Mattie makes things go her way.”
In her own words …
“It’s great to know that, even though I made a mistake, that USA team is so strong… we still came out with a silver,” told USA Gymnastics after Team USA’s win in Rotterdam, for which there was a bit of a struggle. “It just shows what a strong program we have.”
A little-known fact …
U.S. gymnast Dominique Dawes drew international attention as the first black person from any country to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics. Larson cites Dawes as an influence.
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