Kayla DiCello Is Florida Focused

The 2020 Olympic alternate and 2021 World All-Around bronze medalist plans on competing at U.S. Championships in Tampa before heading to Gainesville.

As the U.S. Classic kicks off in Salt Lake City Valley, Utah, Kayla DiCello is looking ahead to the U.S. Championships in August before joining her Gator teammates as a member of this year’s freshman class. The 2020 Olympic alternate and 2021 World All-Around bronze medalist has chosen not to compete in Salt Lake after originally being on the roster, but has big plans for the rest of the summer and is especially looking ahead to the fall and her first season with the Gators.

Earlier this month, DiCello, who had been somewhat off the radar on the Elite scene all year, earned her spot as a member of the Pan American Championships team where she won gold on floor and silver with her team. With her trademark calm confidence, and trust in herself and the process, DiCello continues to focus on achieving her goals one step at a time. Those goals include making the National Team this year and maybe a second Olympic run down the road, but for now, she’s focused on gymnastics one day at a time, just as she always has been, and so excited to compete in college.

We asked her about Tampa, Gainesville, Paris and more in this quick chat!

*Note, this interview was conducted prior to the Pan American Championships

Congratulations on your high school graduation! How does it feel to have such a milestone completed while competing for Team USA?

It’s so exciting and having been able to train at this level and enjoy high school has really been awesome. I have created amazing friendships and sad we are all heading different paths but very happy for the next chapter and journey to start.  

Tell us about your main goals right now for Elite. Are you planning on Classics and Championships this year? Maybe Worlds in October?

I am focusing on the Classics and Championships this year. I have taken some time earlier this year to recover from an injury and am looking to complete clean routines at both of these events. My goal is to make the National Team and hope to execute the routines to earn a spot.

We missed you at Winter Cup earlier this year! Were you taking a break from competition? 

 I was not training around the time of Winter Cup. I was recovering from a back injury, which is better now and happy to be back in the gym training and competing. 

Let’s go back to last year. What a ride from U.S. Championships to Trials and being named an Olympic alternate. What did you learn most about yourself as an athlete and as a person throughout those experiences?

My biggest takeaway was to believe and trust in myself. As you know, Championships was not my best performance and I had to put that behind me quickly and reset. I went back into the gym with a positive attitude and focused on confidence and trust. This really helped me go into trials feeling really good and excited to compete.

And then winning bronze All-Around at Worlds! What were your expectations going in and how exciting was it to be on the podium? 

Competing at Worlds was always one of my goals as I moved into Elite gymnastics. My approach was the same, take one skill, event, and routine at a time. It is super exciting to be able to put in the work and see the results. I was very proud to be able to stand on the podium at the end with the bronze medal representing Team USA and Hill’s Gymnastics.

How was the recent National Team Camp for you? And what do you think about the new leadership in place with Alicia and Chellsie?

Going to the National Team Camp is always good; it’s great to be back together with the team members, working and pushing each other, as well as building on our friendships. Having Alicia and Chellsie is a good thing for the program. They have been here, they lived this lifestyle with great success, and we are all excited to have them here.

What are you thinking as far as your timetable heading to Florida right now? Have you thought at all about going for Paris 2024, or doing both Elite and NCAA at the same time? 

I have not made any decision on 2024 and I’m keeping options open, but the one thing I am certain about is I am thrilled to be going to the University of Florida in August. I am excited to be with my Gator teammates, continuing training, and starting classes.

Any fun new upgrades you can share?

Given my recovery, earlier this year, I have focused on my core routines and fundamentals. No upgrades…yet.

What inspires you or motivates you most in the gym day to day? Especially on the hard days!

Each day I get motivated to be in the gym by setting myself small goals for every practice that helps build and work towards my long-term goals, taking it one day at a time. I remind myself that each day is an opportunity to get better even on the hard days because I know if I can make it through a hard day I can make it through anything.  

What’s something that would surprise people to know about you?

Something that I think would surprise people is on bars I put balloons in my wristbands to help prevent getting rips!

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Attitude and approach. Having a positive attitude and a positive approach can turn a day with early struggles into a really productive day. As you leave the gym each day, it is important that you can be satisfied you accomplished your goals for that day.

Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics; Ricardo Bufolin 

For more:

Everything You Need to Know About the U.S. Classic

TCT’s Levi Jung-Ruivivar Ready to Shine

Skye Blakely Ready to Soar

U.S. Junior Champ Katelyn Jong Ready For The Jump To The Senior Ranks 

Rising Star Nola Matthews Readies For The Road Ahead 

Joscelyn Roberson – A Star On The Rise 

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