By Anna Rose Johnson

One of the finest uneven bars workers in the United States, 17-year-old Gabby Perea of Legacy Elite Gymnastics will be making her long-anticipated return to domestic competition this summer. Perea missed competing in 2018 due to injuries, but she staged a strong comeback this spring, helping the U.S. team to a gold medal at the Jesolo Trophy. In this interview, Perea chats with us about Jesolo, the reasons she’s verbally committed to Cal-Berkeley, and her major gymnastics goals!

Inside Gymnastics: What was it like to compete at the Jesolo Trophy and win gold with your team?
Gabby Perea: It was great to be back and competing for Team USA again! Jesolo Trophy is definitely one of my favorite competitions. You can’t help but be excited when you walk into the venue. The crowd always cheers loudly for everyone! I was a bit nervous with this being my first major competition as a senior, but all the support from Coach Jiani [Wu] and my teammates helped get me through. It was also great to see my friends from Italy and the other countries.

Inside: What are you most looking forward to in your 2019 competition season?
Gabby: I am looking forward to competing for the first time as a senior in the U.S. at Classics and Championships.

Inside: How’s your training going currently?
Gabby: Training is going great! I am working on confidence and consistency.

Inside: Are you working on any upgrades?
Gabby: Yes—you’ll have wait and see to find out what they are. 🙂

Inside: What are you most looking forward to in NCAA?
Gabby: Competing with my Golden Bears teammates! [As] an elite [gymnast for] the past few years, my opportunities to compete with a team [are] not as frequent as I wish [they] could be.

Inside: What are some of the reasons you chose Cal-Berkeley?
Gabby: On my first visit to Cal, I just fell in love with the coaches and the campus. I felt a strong connection with both Justin [Howell] and Liz [Crandall-Howell] and could easily picture myself being a part of their team. I also love the vibe of the campus! It actually reminds me of some of my favorite parts of downtown Chicago. We live in the suburbs, and I always love going into the city. So the idea of going to college in more of a city setting is really exciting to me.

Inside: What’s your favorite apparatus?
Gabby: My favorite event is bars.

Inside: When will your next competition be?
Gabby: My next competition is the U.S. Classic in Louisville.

Inside: Who are some of your role models in gymnastics? 
Gabby: Some gymnasts that I look up to are Aly Raisman and Anna Li.

Inside: What are your long-term goals?
Gabby: Olympic Trials, Tokyo 2020, and then NCAA Championships.

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