Sabrina Vega: Don't Settle for Less Part 2

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Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics


This is the continuation of an interview with 2011 World Champion Sabrina Vega. Check out Part 1 here.


Are you professional or did you keep your NCAA eligibility?
No, I kept my eligibility because I definitely want to train for the Olympics. After the World Championships, I know a lot of the World team went professional but I decided to stay eligible just to keep my options open. I definitely have looked at colleges but I haven’t committed anywhere because I’m still in training and my main goal is 2016. I have looked around but I’m still doing all the schoolwork (SATs, etc.).

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Could you tell me a bit about what 2012 was like for you and what it was like going into Olympic Trials?
2012 I have to say was a stressful year because all the hard work before going into the Olympics Trials… I mean, it was an experience and I was just so thankful that I was there. You’re not only part of the USA team but you were in the picking for the team. That was great for me to see that I’m part of the USA team. Although it wasn’t my best competition and not the thing I wanted to come out of Olympic Trials but I was pleased with the fact that I could go and compete at Olympic Trials. It wasn’t my best but I’m glad with what I did and glad that I have the opportunity to try again. So, that’s behind me now and I’m looking towards the next quadrennium.

What was it like watching the Olympics?
I was really excited for the girls because we’re all so close. I felt like every time I turned on the TV, I was there with them. I was definitely supporting them all the way and extremely excited when they won the gold. I was happy and it felt great to watch teammates shine and I’m very proud of them. [Al Fong adds, “We’re all very proud of them!”] For me, it was an eye opener to know that I have teammates that amazing and I was part of that team. It was tough seeing them there and being like, “Oh, I wish I was there.” But at the same time, I felt so proud and supported them.

What are your thoughts on 2 per country, considering you were 9th in the all-around at the 2011 World Championships?
You know, rules are rules and you gotta abide by the rules if you want to play the sport. I mean it is tough being that 3rd person. That’s happened to me multiple times and it’s tough but it’s the rules of the sport. You gotta go with it. Some parts are fair because you want every country to have representation in the event but also if you’re that 3rd or 4th person, like I made the top 8, but… It has it’s pros and cons but it’s the rules. That’s just the way I am. I play by the rules.

What are your thoughts on the new Code of Points?
I feel like the new rules – focusing on artistry – is definitely good for me I guess. [Laughs] That’s probably my strength in gymnastics, the artistry part. That’s definitely a plus for me. We’re going to see a lot of new combinations on all events, which will be good to watch. After every Olympics, there are going to be skills that are lowered or raised in values so you just have to keep up with the Code. It’s great to see other countries come up with new skills and combinations. I think it’s going to be great.

What has been the highlight of your gymnastics career?
I think my whole experience as an elite athlete on the USA team has been the highlight of my career because I learned so much over the years. Going out and representing USA has been a great experience.

Worlds was definitely one of the highest points because I was able to go out and see how I could handle the pressure. Winning the gold at the team finals was really great because they had put me in a position of opening for Team USA on 2 events. It was great to receive that gold medal and the recognition [that came with] being part of Team USA.

And of course Olympic Trials because I was so close to achieving my dreams. Of course, getting there and having USA on your back – just representing the country and being part of the best team in the world…

I think representing USA has been the highlight of my career.

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Who are your role models in and out of the sport?
I feel like every girl that’s been on the USA team has gone through so much and worked in and out, everyday, of the gym, just to be a part of Team USA. So, I just look up to everyone. And also girls that have been to previous Olympics like 2008 in Beijing and all the girls on the Olympic team from this past year in 2012. Just the hard work in and out of the gym. I look up to these girls and I’m glad that I know them.

How does it feel to be one of the veterans now at camp?
It’s been different. I remember being the little one coming and now I’m the oldest and one of the tallest, which is definitely weird! I think it’s awesome because now I can share with the younger ones that are coming up, share my experience, and help them out with anything and give advice. I think it’s really cool because I remember the older girls doing that for me. Now the roles have changed and I’ve had the opportunity to help others.

Was there anything else you wanted to share?
I think, pretty much, gymnastics is a tough love sport especially at the elite level where you have to come in, day in and day out, and train your hardest to get to your goal. But I think the best thing is to keep your goals in mind and don’t settle for less. Just try your best and never give up. I think that’s the best advice I can give.


Blitz round
favorite event: floor because I like to perform. That’s the event where you can kinda show off. [Laughs]. Beam is also my favorite because it’s one of my strongest so beam and floor are ties.
least favorite event: [Laughs] honestly, I think my least favorite is vault because it’s not my strongest but I’m looking forward to having that as one of my favorites and working towards getting it better so that I don’t dislike it too much.
skill that took you the longest to learn: I’ve been really lucky that a lot of skills have come easy. I guess it’s just a God-given talent and I get things quickly. The things that really do stand out are going in every day and trying to make it perfect.
Skills that came very easily: Maybe skills in compulsory levels! Once you get to optionals, it’s not easy anymore. It does take time but once you get it, it’s good!
favorite show: I don’t really know, I barely watch TV! I don’t have very much time to watch TV – I’m in the gym, doing school work.
favorite song of the moment: Nothing is Impossible – I don’t know who sings it!
favorite place you’ve ever traveled to: probably Paris
favorite movie: Facing the Giants
last movie you watched: Soul Surfer
most embarrassing gymnastics moment: I can’t think of one! I’ve had disappointing moments but not embarrassing!
Travel anywhere, where would you go?: Anywhere? Spain probably. I’ve never been there and I’ve always wanted to go.
Celebrity crush: [Giggles.] I’m gonna have to say Ryan Reynolds. That’s kinda awkward but yeah.
Guilty pleasure: You said it could be food? I’m gonna have to say Oreos. That’s my weakness!!

Thank you so much, Sabrina, for this interview! We wish you the best of luck recovering from surgery and can't wait to see you compete again.

Follow Sabrina on twitter: @SabrinaVega95

3 comments :

  1. Love that kid.

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  2. awesome interview!

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  3. She doesn't have the most difficulty but I really like her on the floor. She has a natural grace and elegance as well as pizzaz.

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