Inside Gymnastics: How is your training and recovery going?
Bailie Key: Training is going well. I just started physical therapy for my back last week, so I am really focusing on core conditioning and getting strong. I am just so happy to be able to go upside down again!
Inside: Tell us a little about your 2016 season and the injury that prevented you from continuing your Olympic bid.
Bailie: Although the 2016 season did not end up how I thought it would, I can honestly say that this whole year has been one of the biggest blessings in disguise. I was coming off a back injury and I was feeling great for a while, but then it started bothering me again. I was doing everything in my power to make my back feel better (massages, physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, etc). I kept trying to push through, but my back pain would not allow me to. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for everything! I have learned so much and there has been so much good that came out of this injury. One of the best things that happened to me was Alabama.
Inside: What are some of the reasons you decided to compete for Alabama?
Bailie: The coaches are a huge reason of why I picked Alabama. They are absolutely amazing! From the very first moment I talked to them, I felt like they truly cared for me as a person, and not just a gymnast. They constantly reminded me that they would always be there to support me. They were there for me when I really needed it. I also loved the mentality of the team. They have so much integrity and character and I can’t wait to be a part of such an outstanding program!
Inside: Will you return to elite competition before heading to Alabama?
Bailie: Right now my main focus is to get healthy and get all of my skills back, but I would love to return to elite competition before heading to BAMA.
Inside: When do you think your next competition will be?
Bailie: As of right now, I am not sure when my next competition will be. My goal is to get healthy and get all of my skills back and then I will see where I am.
Inside: Do you think you might train for Tokyo 2020?
Bailie: I have not thought much about Tokyo 2020. I am really just taking my comeback one day at a time and trying to be as patient as I can be.
Inside: What are your short-term and long-term gymnastics goals?
Bailie: My short-term goals are to really focus on my therapy and my comeback. My long-term goals would definitely be to return to elite competition and then go compete for BAMA and help contribute to a national championship!
Inside: What are you most looking forward to in collegiate gymnastics?
Bailie: I am most looking forward to the team aspect of collegiate gymnastics. Elite gymnastics differs from collegiate gymnastics because you are competing for yourself. I am really excited to be able to compete for a team! It seems like so much fun!
Inside: What are some of your favorite competition memories?
Bailie: One of my favorite competition memories that I will never forget is my very first international assignment. It was the 2013 Jesolo meet. I remember that Chris [Burdette, one of her coaches] went with me and I was so nervous about the competition. I honestly had no idea what I was doing, but I ended up placing third and I just had so much fun competing for Team USA for the first time!
Inside: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Bailie: I would like to thank my family, coaches, and friends for standing by my side this year. I can’t thank y’all enough for all of the support and I am so ready for this comeback!
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