Molly Yoels

Student in Athens, Georgia

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My gymnastics career came as a surprise to many because when I was a toddler I was very clumsy. I ran into walls and furniture often enough that my parents took me to the doctor to make sure I was alright. To their surprise I was not only fine but I would end up becoming a gymnast. I was facing the difficulty of loving a sport that was center around balance, which was not one of my strengths. Starting at age seven my life revolved around gymnastics. Training over 26 hours every week, competing every other weekend in the spring, I had no time to be a regular kid. Did I miss out on part of my childhood? What were my school friends doing on the weekends while I was competing? I always wondered what I was missing, but at the same time I was experiencing something so unique and I loved every second of it. As the years progressed the sport became more and more demanding: of my body, my strength, my mentality, and of course my time. I would eat dinner in the gym, do my homework in the gym, on the weekends I would end up eating breakfast and lunch there too. All of this hard work and time was ended by one little mistake. One little miss-step on a four-inch platform ruined my ability to do what I love. I remember feeling my hands slip and my body slam against the ground. The pain was indescribable, but that physical pain was nothing compared to the pain I felt when I was told I could no longer do the sport I lived for. Gymnastics shaped me into the person I am today and I don't know where I would be without it