Samantha Peszek: Gymnastics

I decided I wanted to go to the Olympics when I was 5. I watched the USA gymnasts on TV and thought they made it look really fun and easy. I told EVERYONE that I was going to go to the Olympics one day, which is kinda funny because I wasn’t very good at gymnastics at this point. I was a cocky little kid and my parents told me that “I could do anything I set my mind to,” and I believed them. Unfortunately, my journey didn’t start off that easy. I wasn’t very disciplined. I wasn’t very flexible and I was scared of everything. I was so afraid of my tumbling that I actually got held back levels. I would cry and be really upset that my friends were levels ahead of me. I decided (at the age of 7) that if I wanted to go to the Olympics one day, then I would have to conquer my fears, strengthen my mind, and work harder than anyone else.

Fast forward, 9 years later when I was named to the Olympic team. I had a flashback of me struggling to do basic gymnastics skills at a young age. I was so proud of myself that I had stuck with it and kept my goal no matter how tough it got… and let me tell you, it got REALLY tough. It hit me that all my hard work had paid off.Although “hard work” is a simple lesson, it’s one of the most important lessons. Whether you do sports, music, or pursuing a new career, nothing can ever replace hard work. It’s definitely been a theme in my life that I cling to during the tough times. It gives me confidence knowing that I can outwork anyone. It was my secret is gymnastics to get me to the highest level and it’s something that I remind myself of daily!