Tasha Takes Us Back- Moments and Mentors
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By Susan Williams
MOMENTS AND MENTORS … TASHA’S TOP THREE
#1: College coach Valorie Kondos Field (UCLA)
“Miss Val will be in my life forever. I talk to her once a week—probably more than that. The reason I picked UCLA is not only because she’s a good gymnastics coach—she’s more than that; she’s a life coach. It’s not just about gymnastics with her. It really was about molding me to become a well-rounded human being. She taught me to believe in my abilities.
“I call her for advice about jobs, law school, [laughs] my social life—about anything really. She’s very influential in my life.”
#2: Elite coach Cassie Rice, who guided Schwikert from the age of seven through two Olympic teams
“Cassie is like a second mom to me. She’s an amazing person who taught me so much. I spent just as much time with her as I did my own parents, and I’m thankful for the sacrifices she made for me. She gave up time with her own family. You have to be 110 percent passionate to be able to coach an Elite gymnast and Cassie was that, and more. … She’d call me at, like, 11 at night and say, ‘I’ve been thinking about your floor routine.’ I’d be in bed and she’d be thinking about my floor routine [laughs].
“I definitely wouldn’t have achieved as much as I did if I didn’t have her.”
#3: National Team Coordinators Bela and Martha Karolyi.
“They gave me an opportunity. They believed in me and gave me a chance, and for that I will always be grateful. They always respected me and I always respected them. They are intense coaches but, to be the best, you need to be intense. I feel like I’ll always have a relationship with them. We always got along really, really well, but to this day, when I see him, Bela calls me ‘Sasha.’ [Laughs] I think he knows my name, and it’s just a joke but, hey, you never know with Bela.
“They always supported me. I love Martha and Bela.”
#1: Team gold at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, Calif.
“That was an exciting moment. We overcame so much adversity. Courtney Kupets tore her Achilles, Annia (Hatch) tore her knee, and Ashley Postell was hospitalized because she was so sick. And our podium training was, well, a disaster. There was just a lot going on and the fact that we pulled it out when it counted means a lot. The team aspect of that type of meet is really [under-rated].”
#2: 2003 U.S. National Championships
“Courtney Kupets and I were neck-and-neck throughout the competition. That was definitely one of my most memorable competitions, because I had never been in a competition where it came down to a quarter of a tenth on every event. It came down to the end and we were the last two to go. I ended up tying for second with Hollie Vise, but I just remember I was on floor and [Courtney] was on beam and we were the last competitors to go. She beat me, but it was a lot of fun!”
#3: 2000 Olympic Games
“Walking into the stadium in Sydney was unbelievable. We put in so many routines. We were at the Ranch for a long time and then we were in Sydney at this women’s boarding school. We definitely put in the time. They had us get up every morning at 5:00 and mimic what would happen the first day of competition, because we were in the first session. We’d stretch on the floor and then, without any warm-up, go up on beam and do a full set. So, when the meet came, it was almost to the point that I didn’t need any warm-up. I could just go. Because we’d been doing that every day for the last month. I’ve never felt so ready for a meet.”
As Tasha looks back on her celebrated career, celebrate with Inside Gymnastics as we celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2012! Culminating with our upcoming commemorative issue, 2012 is an important year for not only us, but gymnastics! Be sure to subscribe today at www.subscribeig.com to be certain you receive your 10th Anniversary Commemorative Issue! Also, with the London Olympics looming, don't forget to visit us here on the web, as well as Facebook: www.facebook.com/insidegymnastics and Twitter: @insidegym We look forward to many more years bringing you the best gymnastics coverage around!
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