Where Are They Now? | Catching up with Elizabeth Price! 

By Ashlee Buhler 

Everybody in the gymnastics world knows the name Elizabeth “Ebee” Price and that’s all thanks to her decorated career as an elite and college gymnast. Price wasn’t on many people’s radar heading into the 2012 Olympics, but she proved she could hold her own against the best gymnasts in the country, placing fifth All-Around at the U.S. Championships and fourth at the Olympic Trials. She went on to be named an alternate to the Olympic team, a result some gymnasts might be disappointed with, but for Price it was a proud moment and just the beginning of her illustrious career. In the span of two years she collected three All-Around World Cup titles, an American Cup title, and four gold medals at the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships. 

In the fall of 2014 Price set off to begin her college career at Stanford where she continued to take the gymnastics world by storm. By the time her career concluded in 2018, she was a 19-time All-American, an NCAA champion on vault and floor, the owner of numerous perfect 10’s, and the only Stanford gymnast in history to win the coveted AAI award. 

Inside Gymnastics recently caught up with the Stanford and Harvard grad to see what she’s been up to since hanging up her grips!


 

It was nice to run into you at the 2022 NCAA Championships! What is it like for you to be back in that environment? Is there a part of you that wishes you could be out there competing? 

I haven’t seen one in person in a couple of years so it was nice to be back. It’s funny because I go back and immediately all of the emotions that I know the athletes have… I’m like, ‘I know exactly what it’s like to be out there’ and all those memories of the adrenaline and walking out during the introductions came rushing back. It’s things you don’t think about on a daily basis now, but being back it was definitely a flashback to being down there. 

Time really does fly! It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since you’ve competed! Does it feel that way for you? 

It doesn’t seem like four full years have passed! It’s been four years almost to the day! It’s hard to believe that many years have gone by. [It feels] more like two, maybe. They just had the international meet in Italy (Jesolo) and Facebook was giving me all these memories like ‘Oh 10 or 11 years ago you were in Italy.’ And then obviously going to NCAA’s I see people I recognize like coaches or athletes that were there when I was still competing. There’s still bits and pieces that hang on to me because life keeps bringing back those memories! It’s nice to be back in that setting every once in a while for sure. 

When you look back do you have a favorite memory or moment from your elite or college career? 

College is easy because my bar routine at NCAA’s my senior year was like the icing on the cake. Obviously it was a great season but it’s also great to have one of your best meets be your last meet ever. [Ending with a 10 on bars] it can’t get much better than that! And then for elite… it’s a tossup. One was the Olympic Trials because up until that point that had been my best meet ever and I don’t think I had the highest expectations coming into that competition. I was just like, ‘Let me go out there and do my best and see what happens.’ So I think I kind of surprised myself which was awesome because at that point I still had doubts about my abilities and my place on the team. After that one of my highlights was the American Cup in 2014 because that was my only international meet where my family got to watch because it was in the States. Being at an international meet in the U.S. where you have all these supporters was pretty awesome because you don’t get to experience that [hardly] ever.

In 2012 did you see yourself as a contender for the Olympic team at all? 

I don’t think so. Having trained with the girls at national team camps every month, I see how everyone else competes and where I am next to them, and not that I was far off, but you knew who was consistently at the top and I think everyone had a good idea of who was going to be the core people on the team back in like January or February barring any injuries. I think I saw myself more in the mix for the alternate spot just because I knew you had your top four people and I was right below whoever that was. I had gone on international assignments but was never necessarily the best person on the team so I didn’t think about the reality of making the team until the meet was over. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I might make the Olympic team. I hadn’t considered this possibility.’ I was just trying to hit my routines and stay on the events, that was my goal, just to have a good meet! And then afterwards I was like, ‘Wow I had a really good meet. What does this mean?’ 

You retired from elite in 2014 shortly after winning the American Cup and Pacific Rim Championships which I think surprised people. Going into that year was it your plan all along to retire? 

I had always planned on going to school that year so it wasn’t a surprise to me at all, but people didn’t know… I don’t even think my coaches knew. I didn’t tell them until after Pac Rim’s just because I didn’t want that to interfere with my national team experience at all since I was still competing. But it wasn’t a surprise to me, I was always planning on going to school that year!

I assume you were recruited by a lot of the top schools. What made Stanford feel like home for you? 

I definitely did have multiple schools reaching out to me and went on a couple visits but one thing that was important to me throughout the entire experience was academics. Even when I went to visit other schools, I would meet with people and ask about their academics and what they had to say definitely influenced my decision. On top of that, I think one thing for me throughout my entire gymnastics career was I always had other goals outside of gymnastics, even as a kid. So going into the college search experience I was looking for something that would align with that. Yeah I would still be a student athlete and compete for my school, but also knowing that I have other goals and being able to focus on those at the same time. That’s one thing that I definitely gathered from Stanford and I think every athlete from there can say the same thing. Whereas at other schools I feel like athletes are put on a pedestal and you can focus on your athletic career more than academics if you choose to. At Stanford the school wasn’t as large as some of the other ones but obviously academics are important to everyone and I felt like that was a place where I could be challenged in the classroom but still be a part of a strong gymnastics program and contribute to the team. Also the weather was perfect all the time, so that was also a plus! 

When a gymnast goes to Stanford, they often commit before they know they’ve actually been accepted into the school. Was that stressful for you? 

Yes! That was stressful because I had to say no to every other school but still not know if I was going to get into Stanford. So that was a very stressful few months or however long I was in that window. I applied early but you don’t find out until the summer before your senior year. Going into your senior year everyone else is already committed to schools and all the scholarships are given out so you’re just like, ‘Please let me get into this school!’ It was definitely stressful questioning what happens if I don’t get in. Thankfully everything worked out. 

Having been homeschooled throughout your elite career, was the transition to college challenging at all?

The school part was definitely a challenge. Being around people, I was great and had no problems there. But one, I had never been lectured to, like ever, so having someone stand at a board and lecture, I was like, ‘How do I take notes? Do I write down every word this person is saying?’ Also it turns out you learn acronyms and stuff when you do go to school, like in chemistry you learn tricks that I didn’t learn because I was teaching myself and didn’t have someone to tell me all these things. It definitely was a transition learning how to learn from someone else and not teach myself things. 

With the NCAA Championships wrapping up the 2022 season, what advice would you give to gymnasts who just ended their career and are about to transition to a life outside of the sport ?

Take time to figure out who you really are and what makes you happy. I know for a lot of gymnasts, having done gymnastics your entire life, it feels like gymnastics is your identity but obviously that’s not true because once gymnastics has gone away, you’re still here, you’re still a person! Just figuring out what you like to do outside of the gymnastics sphere is really important to finding happiness later in life. I was really lucky being able to be at Stanford for an extra semester without gymnastics so I was able to transition out of school and then into grad school. So I kind of had this very long period of time going from a competitive athlete to a real working adult. I think having that time to figure out what I like to do and also realize I can completely separate a lot of things from gymnastics. Obviously a lot about me has been influenced by gymnastics but realizing theres more to me than just that sport has allowed me to be successful after Stanford. 

Was going to Harvard for graduate school on your radar while you were still at Stanford?  

It was! Before I started at Stanford I was like ‘I’m going to go to grad school’ but then I got to Stanford and was like, ‘This is hard, there’s no way I’m going to grad school. Can I make it through undergrad? Let’s be real!’ [Laughs] Toward the end of Stanford I was thinking about what I actually wanted to do in the future career wise, outside of gymnastics, and I felt I would be better suited to do those things and reach my professional goals if I went to grad school. Like I said I finished my senior year and had that extra semester of school so I did focus on applying to grad schools. I did go through a couple of phases of not really being sure what I wanted to do but I did figured it out while I was at school. 

What are your degrees in? 

My Stanford degree is in Biomechanical Engineering and my Master’s is in Design Engineering. 

What are you doing for work now? 

I am working on the finance team at a clean energy company here in Cambridge Massachusetts. I graduated school and decided to stay. The reason I decided to go into this field is because I’m really interested in the social impact side of work and that’s kind of one of the reasons I wanted to go to grad school after Stanford. I had this engineering degree that was very technical but I wanted to be able to apply it be more impactful and be able to help peoples lives. Now I’m working at a company that prioritizes giving benefits to underserved communities while also expanding solar energy around the country. And I’m getting business experience working in a finance role which is not something I had before, but I did want more business experience to set me up for things later in life. 

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working? 

Being in Boston in the winters I do enjoy snowboarding. We’re pretty close to Vermont and New Hampshire, so I’ve been able to pick that up. The risk of injury is still there, but the repercussions I don’t have to worry about as much. Now that I’m living in a city I really enjoy exploring new places outside, I go on long walks to explore the city, meet up with friends… we’re on the water too, so taking ferry rides to island off the coast, going hiking; I love doing anything outside that’s active and doing it with friends! And now I have time to pick up a book, so I enjoy reading too! And then of course watching Netflix! I just finished “The Ultimatum.” It’s wild but I highly recommend! 

Do you feels gymnastics has taught you any life lessons? 

One thing is the perfectionist thing. I feel like every gymnast develops that and lives with it and I feel like I’m at a point now where I sometimes have to be like, ‘Ok this doesn’t have to be perfect. Maybe I’m trying a little too hard here.’ Everything I do I’m trying to make it perfect all the time and I realize that translates over [from gymnastics]. Another thing is knowing that I can push myself to do more and if I have goals, I know that I can reach them because in gymnastics there’s always something else to accomplish. You learn a new skill but there’s always a new skill to learn. You made this routine but you could score higher. There’s always more and I think the same thing is true for life. In gymnastics you become accustomed to creating plans to be successful and that’s a really important life skill that gymnasts don’t have to try too hard to use since we’ve done it for years. Figuring out what we want to use it for—that’s the challenge! 

 

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics, Jeff Bartee Photography (Ebee with 10 sign) J.R. Photo (Harvard photo)

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