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    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    Olympics Day 1: Masslete Profile - Alicia Sacramone

    Each day during the Olympics, we here at Wicked Pissa Dude Radio are going to demonstrate our Masshole pride by highlighting one of the Massletes that are playing in the Bejiing games. So, Day 1 we'll start with Winchester, MA native who was born when I was eight...ugh, Alicia Sacramone is a women's gymnast.


    2008
    Sacramone kept a low profile in early 2008, mostly due to a sprained ankle. She hit all of her routines at Nationals, Trials and the final selection camp to earn her Olympic spot.


    One-two punch
    Since narrowly missing the Olympic Trials in 2004, Sacramone has established herself as one of the world's best on floor and vault, winning gold on floor at the 2005 World Championships and adding silver on vault in 2006. In 2007, Sacramone took bronze on vault and silver on floor at the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

    Three for four
    Though she's competed on uneven bars in the past -- and still trains on the event -- Sacramone opts to compete on vault, balance beam and floor exercise only. She's an Olympic medal contender on vault and floor, with five world medals in those two events, and is a strong balance beam worker. Even an average uneven bars score could make her an all-around threat, but Sacramone said in May that she's hung up her grips for good.

    Break from Brown
    Sacramone is taking the academic year off from her studies as a sociology major at Brown University.

    Pioneer for a year
    During the 2006-07 school year, Sacramone pulled double duty, competing for Brown's gymnastics team while maintaining her position on the U.S. National team. After the 2007 Worlds, she made the Olympics her priority and turned professional, foregoing her NCAA eligibility. She still remains close to the Brown team and attends its home competitions. Sacramone credits the lengthy collegiate season with turning her from a notoriously inconsistent beam worker to a go-to athlete in pressure situations. Her beam has improved so much that she would have made the world final in 2007 had it not been for the two-per-country limitations.

    Best at Brown
    Brown's top gymnast in 2006, Sacramone was the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year. She set school records on the vault, floor and also in the all-around. She became the first gymnast in league history to finish first on every event and win the all-around at the Ivy Classic, and she also set an Ivy Classic record in the all-around and tied the record on the vault.

    Wild child to mother hen
    The straight-talking Sacramone says in the past, she was "difficult" and "not willing to listen" to her longtime coach, Romanian Mihai Brestyan. Now, at age 20 and the oldest member of the U.S. gymnastics team, Sacramone says she's changed. She often fields questions and advises the younger gymnasts, many of whom she's taken under her wing as the unofficial team mom. When a mistake-ridden balance beam rotation at the 2007 Worlds unnerved the young U.S. squad, Sacramone circled the group and delivered a speech that was part pep talk, part battle cry. And fittingly, it was Sacramone's clutch performance that sealed the gold for the U.S. team.

    Heartbreak
    As a standout on the U.S. National team on floor and vault, many believed that Sacramone was a contender for the 2004 Games, despite her international inexperience. But a disastrous 2004 Nationals kept her from advancing to the Olympic Trials, and she spent August of that year watching the Games on television -- when she could bear to. That, coupled with a back fracture, nearly drove Sacramone to quit the sport. Never too lateAs a child, Sacramone enrolled in dance classes but quickly found them boring and switched to gymnastics when she was nearly 9, giving her a relatively late start in the sport. She caught up quickly, though, and reached the elite level at age 12.

    Info courtesy of nbcolympics.com

    adam@wickedpissadude.com

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    1 Comments:

    Anonymous coffee said...

    don't mess with Alicia Sacramone, she'll knock you straight out (ref. Youtube vid)

    January 26, 2009 at 10:15 PM  

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