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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on July 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 17

Athlete of the Week

Olivia Patterson

BY KRISTINA SEWELL


Olivia Patterson
PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL

Ed. note: Olivia Patterson is the sister of Sun Intern Rebecca Patterson, who wrote up this family-influenced column for our holiday issue.

Cartwheels, splits, flips, and jumps are common at KT’s All-Star Gymnastics in Santa Maria. The gymnasts endure rigorous exercise and dare meticulous stunts. One of these young gymnasts, Olivia Patterson, overcame injury and worked with KT’s coaches to do her personal best in the upcoming gymnastics season.

“Last year was my first year of competition,” Patterson said. “I scored first place all-around in five of my six competitions. My favorite events are floor, beam, and vault.”

Coaches and judges alike compliment her fluid movement on the floor and beam events.

“My Tia Gloria taught me gymnastics stunts since I was a little kid, so competing came natural to me,” Patterson shared.

The competition season was a whirlwind of exciting experiences that ended with promise. However, for Patterson, the off-season brought a series of ups and downs; the young gymnast soon learned the meaning of adversity.

The first injury happened while she worked to improve her least favorite event: bars.

“I was doing a new trick on the uneven bars and slipped off. I landed on my head and it hurt badly, but I tried not to cry,” she recalled.

When Patterson got home, the side effects of a concussion set in, and she was rushed to the hospital. A series of gym-related injuries followed, and she found herself hesitant to try new stunts. Still, Patterson’s family, teammates, and coaches encouraged to her to keep trying.

“I was scared to try big stunts, but I was influenced by the gymnasts Gabby Douglas, Mary Lou Retton, and Team USA. They never let anything stop them from doing their favorite sport,” she said.

Since healing from her injuries, Patterson has dared a more rigorous training plan. In the upcoming competition season, she hopes to make it to the state meet, to receive a perfect 10 score, and to improve her skill level.

Surely the struggle to overcome adversity doesn’t discriminate. In the early years of adolescence, Patterson has learned the basics of pushing through difficulty to reach a goal. She’s looking forward to the exciting things that the new season will bring.

“I like the Walt Disney quote, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ I think if Disney can build his dream, then so can I,” she said.

—Rebecca Patterson