By Anna Rose Johnson
Transitioning from the junior level to the senior ranks can be challenging for some gymnasts, but Grace McCallum of Twin City Twisters made the switch in style this spring. With all the poise of a seasoned veteran, McCallum rose to the top in her first international outing, winning the all-around gold at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships in Medellin, Colombia, ahead of Morgan Hurd—the reigning World Champion. With two different vaults, a stylish floor routine and an array of unique skills, McCallum could definitely stamp her ticket to Worlds this summer. We recently caught up with the promising 16-year-old to discuss Tokyo 2020, PacRims, upgrades, NCAA and more!
Feature Photo by Lloyd Smith
Inside Gymnastics: How’s your training going this summer?
Grace McCallum: Summer training has been going really well. I am super excited to start competing again. I love to compete!
Inside: What is it like to train at Twin City Twisters?
Grace: We work really hard at the gym. I am fortunate that we have such a large Level 9/10/elite team. So many amazing gymnasts [are] all around me to keep me motivated and pushing me to be my best.
Inside: Tell us about your experience at PacRims!
Grace: PacRims was such an amazing experience. I could not have asked for better teammates to train, compete and travel with. The meet was a lot of fun. I met so many new people and made lots of new friends. It was an unforgettable experience. I learned so much.
Inside: Having two vaults is such a great asset for a gymnast; what made you decide to learn vaults from two different vault families?
Grace: I have always wanted to train two vaults. Vault is one of my favorite events.
Inside: Are you aiming for Tokyo 2020?
Grace: Tokyo 2020 has been my dream forever. I am trying to just take everything one day at a time and meet by meet.
Inside: Are you working on any upgrades for the summer?
Grace: Yes, I am working on upgrading a few things on each event.
Inside: What are some upgrades you eventually see yourself performing in the coming years?
Grace: One of my goals is to compete my Amanar on vault in competition.
Inside: What are your favorite skills to perform?
Grace: My favorite skill to perform is my double-double on floor. I love the feeling of flipping and twisting through the air. I also love doing my double on vault.
Inside: What’s your favorite workout music?
Grace: I don’t have any particular favorite songs, but I love working out to upbeat music. At home, I listen to a mixture of everything.
Inside: What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
Grace: My favorite movie is “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” I also loved the movie “The Greatest Showman.”
Inside: What’s a typical day like for you?
Grace: I do online for high school, so during the school year, I usually do online in the morning, and then go to gym in the afternoon and finish anything I need to when I get home from gym.
Inside: Do you have any pets?
Grace: Yes, I have one dog named Bella. She is a German Shepherd and the best dog ever! I have five siblings, and she puts up with my little brothers without complaining.
Inside: What’s your favorite color?
Grace: My favorite color is PINK!
Inside: Which gymnasts have inspired you the most? Who are your role models?
Grace: Shawn Johnson has always been one of my biggest role models because she is so powerful. She also seems so kind and humble. Plus, I was lucky enough to train with Maggie Nichols at TCT. She is such an amazing person and an all-around role model both in and out of the gym.
Inside: Are you excited to compete at Utah? What were some of the reasons you chose Utah? Also, do you think you might ever go pro?
Grace: I am very excited to compete at Utah in the future. They have such a beautiful campus. I absolutely love the mountains. Plus, they have an amazing medical program at their school, and I would like to do something in the medical field in the future. I haven’t really given any thought to going pro. Just focusing on the present.
Inside: What are your current short-term and long-term gymnastics goals?
Grace: I would love to make a Worlds team, and my ultimate goal would, obviously, be the Olympic team!
CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT OLYMPIC GAMES? WE CAN’T EITHER! READ MORE ABOUT TOKYO 2020 IN OUR JULY/AUGUST ISSUE, INCLUDING AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SIMONE BILES, THE POWER 25: CHOREOGRAPHY EDITION AND MUCH MORE. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
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