Tumbling Towards Triumph

Carly Saber, Entertainment Editor

Wake up, go to school, go to the gym, sleep, do it all again– that is the life of a gymnast. Eri Tamada (11) has been doing gymnastics for thirteen years. She started her career at South Bay Gymnastics where she learned her basics and was introduced to the world of competition. She then moved to Studio West Gymnastics where she has advanced through the levels for the past eight years. She has pushed herself incredibly hard, working out twenty hours or more per week, and is currently competing at level 10, which is the highest level in the Junior Olympic Gymnastics.

Tamada’s current level 10 season has been going very well. She received one of the top five scores for Balance Beam at State Championships for California. At this same competition she earned her highest all-around score in level 10, qualifying her to the Regional Competition taking place in Arizona.

With the number of practices, and the bonds that are made between teammates, this sport leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime. Tamada shared her favorite memory, “I qualified to Western Nationals in 2011 and was able to become a level 10. I also love being able to be a role model, not only for the younger kids but for my teammates as well.” Tamada is the only gymnast competing in level 10 at Studio West and has become a role model for the other gymnasts to look up to.

Earning all of the medals, ribbons, and trophies does not come at an easy price. Gymnastics is not only an incredibly challenging sport on the body, but it is also very rigorous on the mind. Tamada reveals, “One of my hardest struggles I had to overcome as a gymnast is getting over my mental fear. In gymnastics we are trained to not only be graceful and powerful but to be mentally strong. Being a mentally tough gymnast meant that no matter how many times you fall or get hurt you always have to stand back up and try it again. By competing in numerous amounts of competitions, it helped me grow as a tougher gymnast and as a confident person.”

Tamada has been working most of her life and hopes to continue in the future. Tamada explains, “My goal for the future is to attend a college with a nursing degree and to be a NCAA college gymnast, competing against different divisions and states around the US.” Since Tamada is only a junior she still has a year to make this goal happen.