Inside: What have you been up to lately?
Alicia: For the last year I have been coaching a group of girls in South Florida! A few months ago I launched an online fashion boutique that caters to petite/smaller women. It’s called Short Girl Couture and it has been an amazing/scary experience since it’s been my newest goal since retirement.
Inside: Do you think you might like to coach elite gymnasts? What advice have you received from Mihai Brestyan about coaching?
Alicia: I’ve never considered coaching elite gymnastics; I love working with kids and have enjoyed coaching more than I ever thought I would thus far but I’m not getting ahead of myself. My kids are just now entering the optional levels. The best advice Mihai has given me as a coach is to be patient. Whenever I’m having a rough day of coaching I call him and vent…I also make sure to tell him that the way my kids are treating me is payback for the years of torture I put him through and thank him for putting up with me. He just laughs and says it will all be okay. He’s the best!
Inside: Will you be joining the SEC Network again for 2016 NCAA coverage?
Alicia: I am pretty jazzed about being part of the SEC Network for a second year! My play-by-play is John Roethlisberger, which makes the whole experience that much better! He is an awesome partner and makes me feel at ease on the air.
Inside: What are some of your favorite competition memories?
Alicia: The best part of competitions always took place outside of the arena. The bonding that would go on with your teammates was priceless! I personally loved traveling around the world and seeing different cultures first hand.
Inside: What did you used to tell yourself before saluting and competing?
Alicia: Before I would salute to compete I would say “Dear Lord…please don’t let me mess this up,” then I would count to three and go.
Inside: What is some of your best advice, or a personal favorite quote?
Alicia: Best advice: Hard work always pays off. Favorite quote: “He will never leave you nor forsake you” – Deuteronomy 31:6
Inside: I have a question that a lot of fans are curious about. In 2011, there were rumors that you were training an Amanar and a Rudi with an extra half twist. Prior to your Achilles injury, how close did you come to competing those upgrades?
Alicia: The rumors were partially true! I was training a front handspring laid out double full—and if I had not gotten injured I have plans of competing it at vault finals at the 2011 Worlds. The Amanar and I had a love/hate relationship – I could always do it I was just too scared/stubborn to compete it!
Inside: Do you think you’ll write a book about your gymnastics career?
Alicia: I never considered writing a book before but it could be a fun endeavor! I never thought people would be interested in hearing about my journey.
Inside: Do you think you might ever make a comeback?
Alicia: I am not so sad to say I have hung up my leotard for good! I had an amazing career and it is time to let the newcomers shine!
Inside: What advice do you give to Aly Raisman as she tries for her second Olympics?
Alicia: My best advice I can give Aly is to enjoy the journey of making another Olympics. The first one is always so tense and dramatic – the second time around you are wiser and know what to expect. I want her to have fun and realize she has already accomplished a feat so great and that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to.
Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com