Know a Gymnast: COURTNEY KUPETS
I cannot even begin to tell you how THRILLED I am that Courtney Kupets, one of my all time favorites, agreed to answer some questions via email! HUGE thanks to Courtney for the interesting and insightful answers!
Basics: As an elite, Courtney trained at Hill’s and was very successful. She was national champ in 03 and 04 (Patterson was co-champ in 04), a member of the very successful silver medal team in Athens, where she also won bronze on ub. She also holds 2 gold medals from Worlds: one as an individual, for ub in 02, and as part of the gold medal winning 03 team. She is the most successful NCAA gymnast in history, scoring perfect 10s on every event, winning the AA multiple times, and leading Georgia to four national titles.
and now…the questions!
1. Talk about the differences and similarities between Kelli and Suzanne’s coaching styles. What was an average day in each of their gyms like? Why did you choose Kelli? Suzanne?
*The differences between Kelli and Suzanne was mainly the area of gymnastics they were coaching, as an elite coach, kelli had to teach me all my skills, help me go to all the camps and be ready at an international level. Suzanne coaches the college level where she has to bring some 15 girls together and get them on the same page so they can compete as one, and she has to deal with promotions as well, but a great motivational speaker. Their similarities are that they want to help make whoever they are working with the best they can. I don’t know necessarily if I chose my coaches, it more happened that God placed me there.
2. During your Olympic experience, you were injured but did AA anyway (which was awesome, by the way). Looking back on it, how was that experience?
* Yes being injured at the Olympics is a little bit of a downer, and when I look back I kinda cringe because I remember the pain, but I would do it all again in a heart beat. It let me be a part the most prestigious meet a gymnast can attend, and I had been injured most of my career so it was just one of those things that, if I really want to do this I have to go through the pain. And I chose to continue competing all the events I qualified for because I was not going to leave Athens and not give it my all no matter what, and I did that and no regrets!!!!
3. In both elite and NCAA, how much input did you have into your routines? (which reminds me…I loved your beam so very much….especially the dismount sequence).
* In elite I was younger and mostly did what I was told, but when I would come back from an injury Kelli would go through new things I could try and we more just played around and put in my routines what I could do the best and with the best form, but I loved how she always played with combinations, that is where my dismount senior year of college came from, and mount junior year. In college I knew my gymnastics and what I could hit week in and out, and if it looked good then it was in and I chose my favorite skills from college.
4. What do you think are the biggest problems with gymnastics right now? is this new CoP a good thing or a bad thing?
* I would love to see gymnastics have the perfect 10.0 back, just because I was able to compete under that code and it is just part of the sport, everyone looks to it as the perfect 10.0 and without it I hope the sport doesn’t lose followers.
5. It seems like gymnasts are pretty frequently injured, including some serious injuries at camps right before major competitions. Why do you think this is?
* Gymnastics is a tough sport and as a gymnast I know that we are one of the strongest mentally tough athletes out there and we block out pain as much as we can and I think that is why we continue going until the injury gives way. It is unfortunate but it is hard to get away from. In college I learned to back down when things are bad, but even then I still tore another achilles tendon, so its hard to know why these things happen. But I know that after them I grow stronger and have a rejuvenated desire to continue.
6. Is Marta kinda scary? Because she looks kinda scary.
* Marta is not scary, if anything she is the comic relief, sometimes the way she would say things would make us laugh, and it was fun to hear that once in a while.
7. What’s your favorite memory of your career?
* Wow, way to many favorites, but I will give three. Going to a competition in California where there were about 8 of us on national team and we were competing against a few other countries, but I just had a blast with the girls (Tabitha, Liz Tricase, Nina Kim, etc. we all had fun together). THen the 2002 worlds, wow, where I received the Gold on bars, Ashley Postell the gold on beam and sam Sheehan the bronze on floor, it was a “magical” trip. Then of course winning a medal for my country at the Olympics, unforgettable!
8. How come you haven’t gone back to elite? They could use you over there you know! (just kidding. sort of.)
* I thought about going back to elite before 2008 but with college and elite it was not in my best interest at the time, I had a college team I had committed to be a part of for 4 years and that is where my attention needed to be, and now that I am done, it just feels like God has other plans for me and other areas of my life to explore. Although, I do miss having a passion that drives me to exhaustion, silly but true.
9. Talk about the current National Team.
* The current National team is very young and has so much potential. They are cute too!
10. Talk about the current Georgia team.
* The current Georgia team is incredible, they are all working their butts off in the gym, I am sort of the student assistant coach/manager, so i am in at their practices and they are well on their way to an amazing year.
THANKS SO MUCH COURTNEY!