I love competing, but there's one part of every meet I can't stand: the few minutes right before it's time to march out onto the floor to start the competition. I'm all ready to go, and there's always a lot of waiting around right then, which makes my heart start beating faster. There's not much you can do, so I try to relax and not think about my routines too much. I talk with the other girls competing and we try to be as normal as we can, talking about anything but gymnastics. Then, thankfully, the announcer introduces us and it's finally time to go out and compete.
This month I'll have to go through that long wait twice -- at two of the biggest competitions of my life so far. Three weeks ago, we had U.S. nationals, and Thursday, the Olympic trials start in San Jose, Calif. I haven't had much of a chance to look back, but I am definitely proud of how I did at nationals. It wasn't a perfect meet, but it was a really strong one, and in the end, I won my second senior national all-around title!
I was especially excited about my floor set both days. I could hear the crowd cheering me on, and I tried to feed off of it and give everyone a show. I felt like I gave it every tenth of a point I could, and hit every landing. It was almost as good as I can do it, and I scored the same both times. When I finished each routine, it was just the best feeling in the world, knowing everything came together after all of the hard work that came before it.
In general I love competing on floor and vault, because they're the two power events, and I can put everything I have into them. I don't worry about them, and at nationals they both turned out fine. Bars and beam are a little more nerve-racking. Bars have never been my strongest event, and when I have a mistake in a meet it's often there. I've gotten a lot better at bars though, and every day in practice leading up to nationals I'd try to do a pressure routine, where everyone in the gym stops and watches, to try to simulate a competition. At the meet, I was happy to hit two strong bar routines, though there are places I can still improve -- I want to hit all my handstands at vertical and I'm trying to upgrade my dismount to a full-twisting double layout for trials. I've been training it for awhile, I just wanted to wait until now to put it back into my routine.
After the meet, my family and I celebrated with a special dinner when I got back home to DeWitt, Mich. My parents got sushi, my favorite food, and we talked about the competition. I especially love California rolls -- and they're a good celebration food right now since they're healthy and, of course, I'm still in training.
Right now is the calm before the storm -- or, I guess, between the storms! It's been quiet, and I've been able to focus 100 percent on training. In between workouts, I take a nap or read. Now that school is done for the summer I picked up the "Hunger Games," and I love Nicholas Sparks books, too. I'm also into "Dance Moms" and "Teen Wolf" when I have time to watch TV.
One crazy thing did just happen, though. Last week I received boxes and boxes and boxes of Corn Flakes from Kellogg's, because my picture is on them! It's so funny to see myself right there on a cereal box, as part of Kellogg's "From Great Starts Come Great Things" campaign. Add that to the list of amazing experiences I have been lucky to have this year.
Now I'm looking forward to trials in just a few short days. I try not to think about winning, so I'm going to focus on hitting and improving on all of the small details I've been working on in practice, and everything will work out. Making the Olympic team would be a dream come true. I've worked for it for my whole life, and it will be the best moment of my life so far. I can't wait to go out there and compete for a spot on the team!