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Olson ’18 wins all-around, tops career best at Yale meet

Veteran posts career-best score of 38.550 after filling in for injured teammate on beam

Going into the fourth meet of the season, the gymnastics team looked to grab its first win against Yale at the Pizzitola Center Saturday. Despite the fact they posted their second highest point total of the season, the Bears fell to the Bulldogs 192.225 to 193.500. Anya Olson ’18 won the all-around with a score of 38.550, surpassing her previous all-around career best of 37.650. She scored 9.475 on vault, 9.700 on bars, 9.600 on beam and 9.775 on floor. For her efforts and success in the meet, Olson has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

The Herald: Why did you choose to come to Brown?

Olson: A mixture of things — I had an old teammate from my gym at home (in Michigan) who came here first, and she was a junior when I came in as a freshman. She told me how everything was at Brown — how the coaching was. She just loved everything about the school, so that got me inspired.

What’s the most difficult part of being a student-athlete?

I never have enough time to do anything. It’s just a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. Preseason … we have early morning lift three times a week. So we wake up at probably 6:30 or 6:40 a.m.

How did you get into gymnastics?

I had a lot of energy when I was younger, and I would do cartwheels, headstands and stuff when I was really young. So my mom just put me in a mom-taught class — how most of us start — at 3 or 4 years old. I just went up the levels from there.

What was it like to sit out all of last year with a dislocated ankle?

It was really hard because I had gotten through basically all of preseason, and then I got hurt right before Christmas break. We start our season in January, so I went home for six weeks, and then when I came back I was not really able to do much. There was another freshman who was hurt with me. We didn’t get to travel to any of the flying meets like California or Nashville, so we missed out on really huge things.

How did you stay positive?

I was focusing on this year; that really helped me. I was more focused on rehabbing, and then when I started to do some skills it got better because when we stayed home we would just go into the gym and practice. Being there to cheer on everybody and support the team in any other way that we could helps a lot too.

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?

We all like to do our hair and makeup together — there’s one girl who’s injured who does everybody’s hair — so that’s always kind of fun. We play really loud music in the locker room, so that usually gets us in the zone.

What was it like to win the all-around? Were you in the zone?

I was trying not to focus on doing it because when I tend to focus on all four events, … thinking about that is a lot. I try to focus on one event at a time. I wasn’t expecting to do the all-around that meet, I was only going to do three events but then (Claire Ryan ’18) got hurt, so I had to stand in for the last event, so I was really surprised. I was supposed to be exhibition, so my score would not count (for beam), but I was going to compete anyway.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


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