Gymnast profile

By Bill Stone

SGS co-publisher

Kaitlynn Nelson
Lake Park senior

How did you become interested in gymnastics?:
“I first became interested in gymnastics when I was around 6 years old when my mom signed me up for classes at the Itasca Park District. It was mostly just a way for me to make friends and try something new (I was signed up for just about every sport when I was young). I had to stop in sixth grade because I did not have a lot of time and started again my junior year at Lake Park.”


What is your greatest gymnastics moment?:
“My greatest moment in gymnastics was probably this year when I competed all-around for the second time ever and ended up placing third in that meet.”

Do you have any favorite music/song for gymnastics meets or practice?
“ ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You,’ from the ‘Mulan’ soundtrack is my preferred music choice for practices and meets. It inspires me in a way that it gives me confidence that I can overcome any obstacle and it’s just generally a fun song that makes me excited.”

What gymnastics skill that you've acquired are you most proud of?:
“I’m most proud of my flyaway on bars mostly because last year I never even practiced bars and this year our new coach, Jake Luketin, really helped me and taught me a flyaway during open gym and now I have the opportunity to compete bars at meets.”

What are the similarities and differences for you competing in gymnastics and soccer?:
“Gymnastics and soccer for me are extremely different. Gymnastics is a break from my year-long soccer season. Gymnastics is a learning environment, while soccer is a perfecting the already learned skills
environment. Soccer for me is as intense as gymnastics is for girls training for the Olympics. Soccer is a part of me, and has been since I was 3.  The only real similarity I see between the two sports for me is the challenges I have had to overcome. In soccer, I was injured two years ago and I had to have a major surgery.  Coming back to playing after the seven months I was out was a huge obstacle. I had to get
over that fear of being injured again, and I had to re-learn some skills. In gymnastics, there is always obstacles I must overcome like during soccer.  I am constantly learning new skills in gymnastics like
when I had to re-learn things from soccer. I must persevere through these mental and physical setbacks in both soccer and gymnastics.”

What have you learned about yourself through gymnastics?:
“I have discovered that I am a very strong person, not only physically, but mentally. I can do anything if I keep a positive attitude, and I am able to. I have learned three new events this year and I feel that is because I have learned to be positive and persistent.”

What is your favorite dessert?:
“A chocolate cake that my mom makes. It’s chocolate cake mix with chocolate pudding mix and chocolate chips in it. It is the ultimate comfort food, but I make sure to only eat a tiny piece because,
according to my physical therapist dad, I am always in training. It is a treat!”


What are your three favorite TV shows?:
“ ‘Bones,’ ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ and ‘Say Yes to the Dress.’ ‘Bones’ and ‘Hawaii Five-O’ are exciting and interesting and fun to try to figure out who the murderer is. ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ is completely mindless
and I enjoy making fun of how worked up these women get over their wedding dresses. It is the show I enjoy watching after hours of homework and I don’t want to think at all.”


If you could become fluent in another language, which would you choose?
“Chinese because I already speak English and Spanish and am learning French. I believe Chinese is the world’s second most used language and China is one of the fastest growing nations and one day Chinese will be as prevalent throughout the world as English is currently.”


If you could become an instant expert on any subject, which would you choose?:
“I would probably pick psychology. I just think it’s so interesting how the brain works and everything. Also having a psychology background helps with teaching which is what I want to do in the future.”