Sloan Sets Sights on London
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Sloan Sets Sights on London
By Elizabeth Grimsley
Many considered Bridget Sloan the surprise Olympian in 2008. Coming off of a meniscus tear just months before The Games, Sloan was fighting the clock to get healthy in time. At the time, Sloan had no one to support her in her time of need in terms of a fellow teammate. But in 2009, when Peter Zhao moved back to China after the Olympics, fellow 08 Olympian Samantha Peszek joined the ranks. “The work ethic that that girl has is unreal,” Sloan said. “She was one of those people that could snap you out of a grumpy mood in two seconds. She was always happy, always excited to train, and I think that was what helped me get to where I was.”
Without Peszek’s continual support and their friendly competition in the gym, Sloan’s career may have ended in 2008. “In 2009, I really didn’t know if I was going to compete in the 2009 Visa Championships,” Sloan said. “And Sam was like, ‘Oh, you got it. You’re going to go.’ And I was like, ‘Okay… whatever you say.’ We get there, and we start training and she was like, ‘Told you so.’” Getting back in the gym proved successful for Sloan as she not only win Visas that year, but went on to win the World All Around title, as well.
Sloan said that although she’s been hurt a lot over the past couple of years, not feeling pain would actually worry her just as much. “In 2010 I had a torn bicep tendon, 2011 I had the foot injury, but I guess gymnastics is just that sport that you always have little aches and pains here and there,” she said. “I think I would feel really weird if I was completely healthy. I would probably be like ‘What’s this going on here?’”
The 2012 Visas marked the first time Sloan competed at the national competition since 2010 and the first time she competed in the all around since 2009. However, not much has changed in terms of her mindset entering the competition. “You’ll always have to walk into Visa Championships knowing that this is the point where you make the national team,” Sloan said. “Especially this year. This is the meet where you qualify to the Olympic Trials, so walking in here, you get that feeling of ‘Let’s do this; let’s win some medals.’”
Although her mindset is the same, Sloan is definitely a different gymnast from the young 15 year old that made the Olympic team four years ago. “Thinking back, I was a baby,” Sloan recalls. “I had no experience under my belt, and now I have all the experience. I’ve competed in the big leagues, and it’s kind of unreal.”
For Sloan, her goals are slightly different as well. “Of course, I want to make another Olympic team,” she said. “I mean, wouldn’t you rather be an Olympic hopeful than a nobody in the gymnastics world?” However, no matter the outcome, Sloan’s gymnastics career won’t end after 2012, as she’ll start the next part of her journey at the University of Florida in the fall. “I cannot wait to compete for Florida and get that experience,” she said.
But the main focus now is the Olympics, and with London just around the corner, time’s ticking away. There’s isn’t much time left for changes, so all Sloan can do now is keep training hard and hope that she’s done enough to make her second Olympic team. “It felt like it was going by so slow, but then I saw the numbers get to two digits, and then slowly they’re going to become, like, teens,” Sloan said. “It’s crazy to think that it’s coming so fast because seriously, four years has flow by.”
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