09 Nov Charting Her Own Path: Quick Chat with Charlotte Booth
Charting Her Own Path: Quick Chat with Charlotte Booth
By Christy Sandmaier
Charlotte Booth has been charting her own path in gymnastics for quite some time.
Relying on her instincts, her voice, and the incredible support of her coaches since landing at Brandy Johnson’s Gymnastics 11 years ago where she trains with coach and former Elite Kelly Pitzen, Booth is as dedicated to her sport as she is to making sure she’s grounded in all aspects of her life. And living in Florida, that means being on the water and hanging out with friends – and being more than just a gymnast.
She’s also ultra-focused on being a good teammate any time she’s in the gym. Describing herself as hardworking, silly, funny, motivated and encouraging, Booth said she “always tries to encourage everyone and just cheer for all levels, really.”
Soon, she’ll get the chance to cheer on her teammates at Auburn, and join up with a team consistently on the rise and who she’s been inspired by for some time.
Just recently, Booth announced her commitment to Auburn as part of the signing class of 2025 and is set to make her collegiate debut in January 2026. The announcement left just a few fans around the gymternet surprised with her choice – and a collective group of Tigers excitedly and very eagerly anticipating her arrival.
“The journey I have been on over the past few months has been amazing and I am so grateful and humbled for the offers and experiences I have had at each of the schools I visited,” Booth wrote on Instagram. “Auburn has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I know it is the right place for me. I will get to do what I love and have truly found a place I can call home.”
She closed her message with: “Auburn here I come. War Eagle!”
Known for her absolute artistry on floor and beam (look for her in our 2024 50 Most Artistic Issue of Inside Gymnastics magazine!) and her creativity and difficulty on uneven bars, Booth, the 2023 Winter Cup silver medalist on the event, is looking ahead to 2024 and beyond – ready for fun, ready to improve, ready to hopefully land an international assignment, and continue to enjoy the sport she’s learned so much from.
Growing up in gymnastics, Booth is already wise beyond her years with a healthy perspective on her journey and what’s meant the most to her so far.
“One thing I’ve learned about myself, I would say, is – and I’ve actually written it inside of my grip – is that it’s ‘You Versus You’ and it’s just so true because I am my biggest competitor,” she said. “And when you realize that, it makes it a lot easier not to compare yourself to others.”
Inside Gymnastics chatted with Charlotte in early November. Here’s more of the conversation!
Let’s start out with your announcement about committing to Auburn! There’s been a lot of excitement and buzz about that. Were you expecting the reaction once you put it out there?
I was. I knew a lot of people would be shocked. I don’t think a lot of people expected me to go to Auburn. For me personally, Auburn has been coming to my gym since I was in fifth grade, so I’ve been familiar with them for a long time. And I’ve been going to watch Auburn for many years because one of my teammates was on the gymnastics team, so we always went to visit her. I just always loved the culture and the campus, and I was super familiar with what Auburn offers. I just really loved it! I could so picture myself there and on the visit I was just like, ‘Can I just stay here?’
Tell me a little bit more about that as far as what you were looking for academically and then as a student athlete. What did they offer that checked those boxes for you?
They do have really good academics, and I want to go into journalism and kind of do sports broadcasting, as of right now. So I know they have a good program for that. I was looking for a positive team culture and a really great environment with people who are positive around you and people you know you can trust.
Was there any particular athlete on the team that you’ve looked up to either in the past or now, that you’ve watched and have been inspired by?
I love Suni (Lee) and I know she loved it there, and she was so amazing there, so I’ve looked up to her forever! And also Payton Smith. She’s been like my big sister for as long as I can remember, and she said nothing but good things about it. She really loves it there, and I love it there, too.
Going back just a little bit, you’ve trained at Brandy Johnson’s gym the majority of your career and I know you’re very close to your coach, Kelly. Talk about what the gym and your coaches mean to you as a family, and what they’ve done for you so far in your Elite career….
Kelly’s been super great. She means the world to me. We have such a good relationship, and she not only understands me, but she’s there for my goals. And we have a relationship where she doesn’t always tell me what to do. She listens to what I want, and we collaborate on everything. For instance, if I say I want to back down on difficulty and work on consistency, she’ll listen. That’s super important to me. And then Brandy Johnson, she helps me all the time, too. She comes into the gym super often, and she always works with me with little things. She’s a super great coach as well. So I like both of them a lot! I feel super comfortable with them. Overall, I really love my gym. It’s such a positive environment, and I’m so happy.
As far as your experiences going to National Team training camps and competing in this incredible era of gymnastics in the U.S., what have you learned from some of your National Team teammates? And what’s the atmosphere like when you’re at camp now?
National Team camps are always so fun, and you really get to bond with everyone who’s just like you, generally from all around the country, and it’s always a super fun time. I love spending time with all of the girls. It’s really good to hear that all the Olympians are coming back. You really get to learn a lot from them and be able to observe and watch and just take notes, honestly.
Are there pieces of advice that any of them have offered you that you would like to share?
I think it was my first senior U.S. Championship and I was in a group – it was me and Nola (Matthews) – and I think we were the youngest ones in the competition. We were 15 and we were with Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey. They were really good mentors throughout that whole week of training and the competition days as well. They would just say things like, ‘you can do this. It’s just like training, don’t worry about the crowd, just trust yourself and breathe and try to have fun.’ Stuff like that.
Have you considered – since it’s very much the trend right now – doing both college and Elite? Or are you going to go full steam ahead into NCAA when you get to Auburn? Or have you decided yet?
I’m going to see how I feel when I get there, but if I had to choose right now, I’d probably say I would just focus on college. That’s as of right now, though, right? I haven’t really decided.
Well, the fun thing in this era is that you don’t really have to decide right now and that the door can stay open…
Exactly. And I know exactly if I wanted to do that, I know I could. So I know all the coaches are super supportive of that or of whatever I want to do.
And for 2024, what are you working on and what are you looking for in your Elite season?
I would love to just keep on working on my consistency and I would love to just gain more experience overall and hopefully get an international assignment.
What’s maybe been the most challenging thing for you so far in your career and what did you learn about yourself from that?
I would say the most challenging thing has definitely been injuries and growing. And I know that’s just a part of the sport. Some of mine have just been bad timing and held me back from some possible assignments. It’s normal, and it’s just a part of sport. But one thing I’ve learned about myself, I would say – and I’ve actually written it inside of my grip – is that it’s “You Versus You.” And it’s just so true because I am my biggest competitor. And when you realize that, it makes it a lot easier not to compare yourself to others. They may be better at floor, but I might have better bars or artistry, and that’s okay because we all have a journey and everyone is different and has a different path.
Speaking of both of those things, obviously you’re very well known for your incredible bar work and for your artistry. So are those things that you focus on especially, or do they come a little more naturally for you?
For me, bars have always come really naturally. I’ve just been able to set the groove and natural bar swing, and I also love doing it, so that helps as well, and it helps if you love doing what you’re doing. For artistry, I have worked on it a lot. I used to not have the best artistry, and I’ve worked on it a lot and I think it’s improved a lot. My tumbling might be one of my weaknesses, but I can make it up in my artistry. And so that’s one thing I’ve really taken advantage of.
What’s been your favorite thing so far that you’ve accomplished in your career?
Winter Cup was definitely a good moment and a highlight and just honestly, all the fun times with the girls at camp!
Finally, my favorite question to ask, if you’re giving your younger gymnast-self advice, what would you say?
I would say just enjoy it! Enjoy every moment, because one day it’ll be over before you know it. And always remember that you’re more than just a gymnast and that there’s way more to life than just being in the gym.