Ethan Swift

Senior Dorothy Yates after a successful competition cheer routine last year, embracing her mother and late grandmother.

Dorothy Yates

Q: How long have you been doing gymnastics and why did you decide to start?

A: I’ve been doing gymnastics ever since I was three or four years old. I started because my mom [saw] me doing somersaults and flipping over on the couch, and she was like, “I just need to put her in gymnastics.”

Q: How have you grown since you first joined the team?

A: I’ve definitely grown as a leader because I’m now one of the captains. I was captain last year and also this year. It’s definitely helped me build a leadership role and has definitely helped me make a really good family.  

Q: What were some of your biggest accomplishments?

A: Some of my biggest accomplishments are gaining more skills on vault just because vault is such an easy event for me.

Q: Describe your favorite memory from gymnastics.

A: It’s exciting when you place first in a competition. It was at one of our home meets, and all of the girls worked really hard, as well as me. We got first place and 230 or 214 [points], something like that. That was the first first place that we had had all season. It was a lot of fun. 

Q: Describe a challenge you encountered in the sport and how you overcame it.

A: A challenge that I encountered during gymnastics was injuring my foot last year. I had injured it in early October because of competition cheer. I was tumbling on it wrong. When I was doing sideline basketball cheer and tumbling on the gym floor, I had a hairline fracture on my fourth metatarsal head on my right foot, which is my fourth baby toe on the bottom. I was in a boot since December, and I wasn’t able to compete at all during my junior season. The only thing I could do was help coach the girls and get their scores up. I just used it as a learning experience. As a captain, it took a lot for me to hold back from doing the sport, but I literally couldn’t do anything. 

Q: How did you feel when the season was cancelled?

A: I was really upset when I heard that the season was canceled because I was really planning on reviving my spot [since] I wasn’t able to compete my junior year. I was also one of the top three in Blue Streak history for vault because my score was so high. I had made it up there, and I really didn’t want to lose my spot. I really was [going to] try to make a comeback this season. [When I heard] the season was canceled, it made me really sad and depressed. I wanted to work so hard to try and get to number one when I was in the top three.

Q: What goals did you have/had for yourself in the sport, both over the past years and for this season? Did you meet any of these?

A: [I wanted to get] myself up to number one [on vault] because I am one of the best in Blue Streak history for doing vault because of how much power I have, the way I execute my skills and the way I serve my whole entire routine. My main plan was to keep going because [my place in school history] went from 18, to 10, to seven, to three. Every single year, I kept getting up into that history. My senior year, I really wanted to make it to number one. I did meet my goals just because I did rank up higher, but I just wish that I had this year to show it off and do it all [again].

Q: How has your experience in gymnastics contributed to who you are today?

A: I definitely think that in general, if I didn’t have sports, I wouldn’t be as outgoing. A lot of people think that I am quiet, but a lot of my emotion and feelings come out while I’m competing [and] practicing because that is the only outlet I have. I was never really taught how to release my emotions healthily. I feel like that really taught me how to be more confident, how to push [myself] when [I] have no motivation [and] how to be the best that [I] can. If you don’t bring yourself to practice, why are you even there? You need to bring your all into practice [and] get it done to become better. I really feel like if I didn’t have sports, it would really affect me. 

Q: Do you have any plans to continue gymnastics in the future- either competitively or for fun? 

A: I was thinking about doing club gymnastics for wherever I go to college, but I don’t really know what I want to do. I know as a freshman and sophomore, my schedule is going to be severely packed with a bunch of classes [and] extracurricular things. I’m also planning on doing the cheer team if I do go to Longwood University because their coach is looking at me. For gymnastics, I’m not really sure, so it’s kind of a question for me as well. 

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