The gymnastics world is always waiting for the next star to emerge from WOGA in Plano, Texas. Fortunately, the world-famous gym that produced Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Rebecca Bross, and Madison Kocian is already busily preparing the next generation of U.S. champions—including a highly promising 12-year-old named Jansen Morris.
Previously coached by Tatyana Shadenko and Ryan Roberts—whom she praises for creating a strong foundation for her to build upon—Jansen is now under the wise tutelage of Laurent and Cecile Landi, the husband-and-wife team who coached Madison Kocian to Olympic success. “The transition with the coaching has been fantastic; it’s been great to get to work with some of the greatest coaches of all time,” Jansen told Inside Gymnastics. “I’m so excited to get to work with Madison Kocian’s coaches. It’s just really incredible…to have so many positive, supportive people in the room. Everybody’s just so amazing and it makes me happy to think that I’m a part of something magical.”

Speaking of magical, watching Jansen compete is an immense treat. On beam, she demonstrates the traditional WOGA precision, and she has a beautiful swing on bars. But it’s floor exercise where she truly shines, combining graceful artistry with dynamic tumbling—wearing a smile on her face the entire time.

Jansen, who describes her floor routines as “fun, fast, upbeat, and rock-and-roll,” actually helps create her own choreography. “I’m a dancer; I love to dance,” she told us. “I collaborate with my coaches; we kind of work together. The process usually takes about a week or two and then we put it together…fixing things and changing things. The hardest part is definitely finding the music.” Jansen added that floor is her favorite apparatus. “I love floor, it’s so exciting to get to compete in front of other people [who] clap, and cheer and smile… I get to show my personality, and I get to show how excited I am to be there. [Floor has always been] fun because it just lets me express myself. I can interact with [the audience] without even having to say a word.”

The talented gymnast has enjoyed great success competing as a Level 8, winning two gold medals (on bars and beam) at the 2016 Region 3 Championships, in addition to capturing silver medals on floor and in the all-around. Now Jansen is training Level 9 for 2017, and she’s using the downtime before the start of the new season to fine-tune her current skills and test out some upgrades. “I’m pretty confident about the season,” she commented. “I’m working on my new beam mount and a new floor routine. There’s especially a big change on bars.” She names a giant half, front giant, and double back among her new skills on the uneven bars. “It’s amazing to think that I actually can do [these upgrades]. I’m working on a pass right now and I never thought I’d be able to do that.” She is also training a back handspring, back layout and a front aerial on balance beam, in addition to a double twist, a ½ punch, and a front handspring full on floor. “Really, I’m just trying to perfect and clean my simple skills before I move onto the tricks and harder skills,” she noted.

Her goals for the coming year include qualifying to the Western Championships, one of the largest J.O. competitions in the country. “It will be the first year I’ll be eligible for Westerns,” said Jansen, “and [my goals are] to place first in one of the apparatuses or the all-around, and continue to stay healthy and keep progressing.”

As far as long-term goals, Jansen wants to become an elite gymnast and, eventually, achieve a college scholarship. “The two [colleges] on the top of my list are OU and UCLA,” she remarked. “Of course, I would really like to go the Olympics, but for right now, I’m just [focusing on] short-term goals, to see how much I can progress, and we’ll go from there.”

Jansen has already developed a great outlook on her sport and the challenges that come with it. “Gymnastics is a great sport and it’s hard, but it’s worth it,” she said. “There’s going to be bad days and there’s going to be good days…but at the end of the day it’s how you…take feedback and listen to your coaches and how you respond to them. And that will definitely affect your outcome. I’m so grateful to be part of the WOGA team and part of the family and all the greatness that has come of it.” Perhaps one day we’ll see Jansen Morris representing the USA on the biggest stages in gymnastics. After all, it’s a WOGA tradition.

Photo © Christy Ann Linder

You can follow Jansen on social media here:
Instagram: @jansenkmorris
YouTube: www.youtube.com/jansenmorris
Twitter: @jansenkmorris

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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