Brenna Dowell: I Moved On Part 2

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Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics

Part 2 of the interview with Brenna Dowell. If you missed Part 1, it can be found here.

A lot of people aren't doing front tumbling on floor anymore but you have the double front pike. How was training that?
In level 10, I competed just a double front. I always liked front tumbling better than back tumbling because you never had any short landings so, for some reason, I just didn't like to do back tumbling so I always shifted towards front tumbling. So, Al always has all these crazy ideas for the next steps and next big skills, so once I mastered the double front, I just tried the double pike. That was the next step and I still had a lot more gymnastics to go so I just tried and was able to do it so I put it in my routines.

Have you ever tried the double front 1/2 out (Podkopayeva)?
Yeah, I've done double front and double pike 1/2 but mostly just into the resi so I've never done it on hard surfaces but I've definitely trained it a couple times.

Is it something you would ever add to your floor routine?
It would depend on where I would put it in my routine and if I could get it consistent. So it would definitely be a skill for the future.

Are you thinking of doing a second vault?
Yes, I've been training it off and on for a while. Al always says that he wants to get my 2 1/2 good and consistent and if that's not good, there's no point in working a second vault. I'm definitely working on improving my 2 1/2 and occasionally working a 2nd one so it's definitely in the back of my mind. I've been working [Yurchenko] 1/2 on - so right now, I can do a 1/2 on, layout 1/2 off but it's in the works.

What gymnasts did you look up to when you were younger?
I looked up to Terin Humphrey and Courtney McCool because they were the Olympians and they were in my gym. When I was in compulsory and level 5 and 6, they were still training and working for the Olympics so I definitely looked up to them. Then, when I got older, I looked up to my teammate Rebecca Clark. She was on the National Team and we were always in her group and she always had really good things to say. She'd always help us when we were having trouble so she was definitely my biggest role model.

What's your favorite event to compete? Least favorite?
My favorite event to compete is vault because it's over really fast but my favorite event to train is bars because I like all the skills that I get to do so I just have a lot of fun doing it. My least favorite to train is vault because... I just don't like it.

Of all your newer skills, which is your favorite?
It's definitely my Ray 1/2 to the straddle back 1/2 because I really like doing Rays. It's a cool skill to work and it's just really... cool (laughs).

Did the Ray 1/2 come quickly?
Actually, I caught it on the 2nd or 3rd day because I had already been working Rays. Once I started catching it, it came pretty quickly.

Have you ever been afraid of training a skill?
Not really. Probably my full twisting back handspring on beam is my scariest skill but now that I've done it for a year and a half, it's not scary anymore. But, I don't really have any scary skills now. That was probably the one I had the most trouble with.

If there was a rule in the Code of Points that you could change, what would you change?
I would change that you can stand on 2 feet in the corners and you don't have to dance into passes.

What are your short and long term goals? Are you thinking about Rio 2016?
My goals for this year are to make the Italy meet and then the Pacific Rim and my goal is to make it to Worlds this year. Long term - I'm just taking it one year at a time and then I'll decide what to do once it comes around.

It's my senior year this year. I'm going to defer college to try for Worlds this year and then I'll decide what to do next year. 2016, yeah, I'm not sure yet.

You've committed to the University of Oklahoma for NCAA gymnastics. How did you pick it?
I didn't want to go too far from home. I wanted it to be driving distance so I visited a few schools that were close. I really like KJ and Lou. They were really nice and they made me feel like they really wanted to me to be on their team. I really liked the atmosphere and, from the people who I know that go there, I heard nothing but good things about it so I'm really excited to go.

What are you interested in studying?
I haven't decided yet. I've thought about teaching or something like Physical Therapy or fitness but I honestly have no idea what I want to do.

What's it like training with Maddie Desch, Sarah Finnegan, and Sabrina Vega?
I really like having teammates. It makes things so much easier. When you're having a hard day, they're always there to cheer you on and they're going through the same thing you are so it's very easy to relate to them. You have your best friend next to you all the time. Between the good times and the bad times, they're always there for you so I really enjoy it.

Did you talk with them about what happened at Worlds?
Not really. Mostly I just put it behind me and never brought it up because, I mean, there's nothing you can do to change it so I just moved on.

Can you describe each of them?
Sabrina is definitely the craziest. She's always loud and I tell her to be quiet so we don't get in trouble for talking. She's really fun.
Sarah's more quiet and always working hard but she has a crazy side to her. It's nice to talk to her.
Me and Maddie are really close. She's the one I go to if I need to have a heart to heart.
I mean, we're all really fun and crazy with each other so we're all a really great group.

Outside The Gym
siblings: I have 3 sisters. Carey and Jacey are older and married and have kids and I have a little sister, Lauren, who's 15.
what do you like to do outside the gym: I like to hang out with my friends and go shopping. I like to hang out with my family especially when we all get together and I get to hang out with my cousins and nieces and nephews. That's a lot of fun. I like to go and watch movies at the movie theaters and in the summer, we have a pool, so I like to invite people over and go swimming.
favorite place you've ever travelled to: either Hawaii or Acapulco, Mexico because they're both really pretty and on the beach and next to the ocean. They're both really cool places.
favorite movie: Despicable Me. That's a cute one.
most embarrassing gymnastics moment: Probably in 2012 at Classics, during training, I stepped off the back of the podium and broke my hand. Because it was just a timer and I just stepped off, it was kind of embarrassing.
celebrity crush: Ryan Reynolds. He's really cute.
guilty pleasure: (laughs) Well, when the Super Bowl and stuff is on, my mom makes cheese dip. That's probably my guilty pleasure because it's really good.

Anything else you wanted to share?
Thanks for all the support and all the nice things you guys say about me. I know a lot of people make edits on Instagram. I know I don't always comment or like but I mean to and it's just really nice of them to do all that stuff just for me. Thanks for all the support!

Thank you, Brenna, for the interview and good luck in the future!
You can follow Brenna
twitter: @brennadowell
instagram: @brenna_dowell

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for the great interview! Brenna has become one of my favorite gymnasts in the last year or so and I am so pleased to hear that she will be trying for another shot at making a World team. She has so much potential and has obviously been working very, very hard to improve on her weaker events. Looking forward to seeing her in competition again this year. Go Brenna!