Last week I spent the week at International Gymnastics Camp (IGC), because I won the Professional Gymnastics Competition Prediction Contest held my gymnastike.org . I've wanted to go to IGC for 4 years (since I was 12) and I finally got the chance! While I was there, I wrote everything down, and these are my "diary" entries. I took out the super personal stuff (like random inside jokes and things I specifically wrote just for my family), but kept enough to capture my experience properly.
*Disclaimer*: These are straight from my notebook, and are not affiliated with IGC. All thoughts are my own.
Sunday- Day 1
I am REALLY excited to be here, but dad was wrong, I'm already homesick. It was fine during screening, that was the best part of the day, but afterwards I wished my twin is here with me (Name with held for her privacy). It's weird being here with out here (this was the longest I have been away from my sister since we've been alive). For screening, they separated us by height, I was a C-. On my way into the gym, I ran into my friend from the gym, which made me happy. They tested us on my best event, floor, and my worst by far, bars. I did a standing back handspring and round off back handspring for floor (I don't spend a lot of time in the gym so please don't judge my very low skill level, thank you) and a pull over- back hip circle on bars. Then was pit fluff. Any gymnast who has ever done this feels my pain. Basically, you take all of the foam out of the pit and put it back in and was the worst experience of the week. I probably still have foam in my eyes and lungs. Afterwards we had dinner. Being a picky eater, I had pasta, garlic bread, and a brownie. Then was cabin cheers, and there were some really creative ones. They also introduced us to three of the celebrities, Oksana Chusovitina, Svetlana Boginskaya, and Blaine Wilson. They also told us that Sean Golden and Jamie Dantzcher was coming as well. I wasn't expecting Jamie, so I'm super excited! Then we went to the dance gym to meet other kids our age, but my cabin left me there! I checked back like 3 times to make sure, and once I left to go to the dance gym, I saw Chuso leave the gym! If I wasn't panicking to get to the gym, I would've stopped and said hello. After that was social hour, which I found kinda boring because I didn't know anyone. It started pouring during social hour, so it ended early and we couldn't shower, so I feel DISGUSTING. I can't wait for tomorrow I think it'll feel more like camp!
Monday- Day 2
I woke up a couple of times, but my counselors like the room cold like me, so that was good. We didn't have time to shower this morning. I wasn't that hungry so I just had cereal for breakfast. After we stretched, we got our groups. I was super scared of that, because I was scared that no one there was going to have the same level as me. They have a great system, because I am with girls who are working on the same thing. First I had beam, which was good. I wanted to work on my back walkover (Again, please don't judge my skill level, as I don't spend a lot of time in the gym, and gymnastics isn't my primary sport). Then was bars. I was one of the better ones in my group, which was encouraging because I hate bars and am bad at them. I also got a rip. Yum. Then we went to floor, which is by far my favorite event. I really like my instructor, and she thinks I have strong potential. After lunch (grilled cheese) was conditioning. Then was dance. I could write forever about dance. Warm-ups felt like I was at Zumba with my friends. Then Bogi took over, and there is a reason why she is called the Belorussian Swan. She first showed us all different body rolls, and simultaneously stuck her tongue out and made the weird noises *insert friend's name here* and I make at each other. After a while, she complimented me on my wolf jump, and I died because IT'S BOGI! Then she asked if anyone knew what a sissone was, and after all these years of following gymnastics, if I didn't know what a sissone was, it would be a problem. So I raised my hand and SHE CALLED ON ME. I DID A SISSONE FOR SVETLANA BOGINSAYA. Then was vault, which was okay. Then I got dad's email. It made me so happy to have some communication with home, but made me miss my family more. Then my cabin was called for Scary Aerie, the rock wall and zip line. I think I got my dad's fear of heights, because halfway up the wall I freaked out and came down. Oh well. I spent the rest of my rec with 2 girls from my cabin. Today has been much better than yesterday and feels more like camp. I'm having so much fun. After dinner (salad. bread, and roasted potatoes), I went to open gym. While we stretched, my counselor called me over and had me tell my floor coach why I was there, but I don't remember who told my counselor (supposedly my mom did) and they both thought it was the coolest thing ever. Then was Q&A with the Olympians. The highlights were that Chuso once fell from beam 6 times and scored a 5, Bogi's favorite Disney character are all of the princesses and she has the princess wave down, and she was once locked in a bathroom during an awards ceremony in which she won silver, Sean Golden is an AMAZING singer, and Jamie Dantzcher's favorite experience was college. The shower was the most awkward thing ever, it was so small. I took the shortest shower of my life. I'm having so much fun!
Tuesday- Day 3
I didn't sleep well last night, I really miss my bed! I started on beam and got over my deathly fear of going backwards! Then was bars. I've never done bars this much in my life, and to put it nicely... I HATE BARS! We were on the tunnels, and I fell into them 3 times. I'm not going to lie, falling into the tunnel was fun, getting out, not so much. It's the little things that remind me of home, but I'm not homesick at all anymore. We did boring stuff on floor, and then my coach had me tell the class why I was at camp which made me feel really awkward. I've never been pushed this hard before, and I'm so sore, but I love being this sore. The only thing I would change is that I wished I came with someone. I had salad for lunch before conditioning. Then was dance, which was fun when Bogi taught us. She smiled at me and I died. It was awesome. My Bogi fangirling so far has been so real. I was so tired by the time vault came and you could tell. I'm starting to hate the pit and I'm glad we don't have one at the gym because it's SO hard to get out of. I got dad's letter after gym and it made me smile REALLY big. We did spaceball during rec, which was cool, but I've found that a lot of the activities during rec are for the younger kids, which makes me wish I came with a friend even more. We took pictures with the Olympians before dinner and I was so excited going in! For my picture, I stood next to Jamie and Bogi, it went Sean, Jamie, me, Bogi, Chuso, Blaine. Blaine and Sean are really funny, and Bogi is such a sweetheart. I GOT TO AWKWARDLY SIDE HUG JAMIE DANTZCHER AND SVETLANA BOGINSKAYA!!! I had penne, garlic bread (which had WAY too much garlic bread) and really good cake for dinner. I chose not to go to open gym because I was exhausted and sore, so I walked around camp, and I think I got more exercise walking up those hills. I sat at the lake for a while because it reminded me of my beach, which I miss so much. Then we had handstand, strength, and flexibility which was really funny to watch. I'm glad I didn't have to do it! Social hour was kinda boring again. I can't believe when I wake up, it'll be Wednesday! I get to sleep in tomorrow and I'm so excited!
Wednesday- Day 4
It was so nice sleeping until 9:30 today. I had cereal for breakfast (I know, I'm getting boring) and then was beam. I started doing back walkovers on the medium sized beam and got over my fear of going backwards! I was so happy! I still hate bars, and my coach thinks the first part of my kip is good. I ripped my rip from Monday again, because the only thing sexier than rips, is when your rips get rips. It's super sexy. Floor always goes the quickest. We did legs and cardio during conditioning, and whoever thought doing legs before walking up that awful hill to dance was fun, is insane. To sum up dance, Bogi is amazing. Vault was okay. I'm starting to get kinda frustrated with my beam coach, because she doesn't give me corrections. I played volleyball with my friend from home and her friends during rec. I love getting all of dad's letters and hearing about what's going on at home. I had salad, corn and watermelon for dinner, but the watermelon didn't taste the same when it didn't come from my dad's plate. I watched open gym with three of my friends because we were all too tired to actually do it. Then was a Dutch Auction, which was hysterical! Social hour became more fun when I had people to hangout with. I can't believe the week is half over, I'm having the time of my life.
Thursday- Day 5
I woke up and it was Thursday, when did that happen? Only 3 more nights until I fall asleep in a real bed! I had cereal and a banana again for breakfast. It's pouring here. I continued to get over my fear of going backwards. I feel bad that I thought that my coach didn't correct me, because she spend all day with me. I'm not really scared to go backwards anymore. I ripped my rip AGAIN and am so sick of bars it isn't funny. Today on floor was crazy. The girl who went after me did a round off backhandspring (a skill she was no where near ready for) and kneed my coach in the face, and they tested her for a concussion. She left, so our bar coach came, but she has a bad arm and couldn't spot us, so they got another coach to come. I feel bad for my floor coach, I've had two concussions and they aren't fun. I saw her later and she said she was fine, but she wasn't coaching. I had mac & cheese and bread for lunch, and then went to conditioning. Dance wasn't as good as usual because we were learning a dance, and I, as I have the worst coordination ever, did not do too well in dance. I was falling asleep during vault, and doing it last STINKS. I made bracelets with my friends from home to give to the Australian Jr. National Team (who are training with us) and watched them work out. While I was in there I saw one of the Australian girls (I later learned her name is Alex Eade, watch for her in the future!) do a YDB, and I SAW CHUSO THROW A FRONT HANDSPRING DOUBLE TWIST! I actually went to open gym and worked on making my roundoff back handspring better on tumble track. My knee felt really stiff today. I had more pasta and bread for dinner, which I'm finding is really the only thing they serve besides some really gross looking chicken. Tonight was the "party" which was just an extra hour of social hour, and you got autographs during it. I was so excited, and each of the Olympians were so sweet! The time went by really quickly, and now that I have people to hangout with, social hour isn't that bad. I'm having so much fun but I'm almost ready to leave.
Friday- Day 6
Wow, it's already my last day here, and I can't believe it! I had cereal and a banana for breakfast again (what can I say, I'm not a breakfast person). Bogi lead warm ups on beam and they were dance warm ups and they were perfect. She had us shimmying down the beam and yelled "SHAKE WHAT YOUR MOMMA GAVE YA!" Everyone started laughing to which one girl in my group yelled "It's Svetlana she can say what she wants!" which I thought was so true! I got my back walkover consistently on the medium beam and when I told my coach how scared I was to go backwards, she didn't believe me and said how proud of me she was. I ripped the same. rip. on bars for the 4th time this week. When I went to wash it off, I stubbed my toe and part of my nail came off. I got my double back handspring on floor with the replacement coach (my first coach does have a concussion). It was "Finger Food Friday" meaning chicken fingers and fries, but since I had conditioning after, I just had salad, fries, and amazing chocolate chip cookies. My toe hurt a lot during vault so I didn't run, I just did handstand flat backs. I played volleyball and sat at the fire pit with my friends from home and watched while they did Scary Aerie. Once I started packing, it hit me that I was almost ready to go home. I'm excited to go home but I don't want to leave. I had salad and an Italian Ice for dinner. I'm so excited to see my sister, I've missed her so much! Then was staff exhibition, which was really cool. Then Sean Golden did like a play type thing with a dance teacher and a male coach, and it was hysterical. Then Bruno, the owner of the camp, did a list of all the hearts that went "pitter patter", which is basically a huge joke, but was very funny. I spent social hour with my friends and it was so sad. I'm so not ready to leave, I'm going to miss it so much!
Overall I had a lot of fun! I was definitely homesick the first two days, but I got over it once the week progressed. My biggest recommendation is to go with a friend, because you do spend a lot of time out of the gym and (especially if you are older) a lot of people have friends already, making it kind of hard to make friends. I had such an amazing week, I can't wait to go back next summer! I highly recommend IGC, no matter what your skill level (because as you saw, mine isn't very high), if you love doing gymnastics, you're going to have a great time!
I'd also like to thank Gymnasike for the amazing opportunity!