Callie Hicks lives with host family to pursue competitive sports

When did you start doing gymnastics?

I started doing gymnastics when I was about eight years old. I started out doing power tumbling in Emporia, and from there I went to G-Force in Lawrence. Then I started getting into artistic gymnastics when I was eleven.


What is the difference between artistic and regular gymnastics?

What you are referring to as “regular” is power tumbling and trampoline. That’s three events instead of four, and you do double mini, which is like a trampoline sitting stationary and you run up on it and jump like three times, and then you do a flip off of it.  From there, there’s power tumbling, which is a single rod floor strip.  I was a level eight at the time I was doing that and was doing about nine total flips down the runway.


What’s an example of a pass you would do?

One of my passes was running into a round off back handspring, whip, whip, whip, whip, back handspring, back handspring, back layout, full.  I had another [pass] but it wasn’t as advanced. You generally have two different passes.


whip- basically a back handspring with no hands.

full- a 360 degree back flip, usually with a straight body.


Then you did trampoline, which is my least favorite. I didn’t do as well on that. I was a level seven. There was this move called a crash dive that I absolutely despised. You jump up into the air and kind of flail your body, then arch your back, and then at the last minute you duck and land on your back on the trampoline and then you do a flip from there.  It scared me so badly. That’s one of the things that led me to artistic gymnastics.  I always wanted to flip on the beam and stuff.


So artistic gymnastics is the beam, floor, vault, and bars we see in the Olympics?



Why do you like gymnastics?

I kind of found that gymnastics was the sport for me because I was always a lot smaller than other kids. I did basketball for a while and I got pretty thrown around. I mean it was fun–I really liked basketball and I played it as a kid in little ball leagues. I also actually did martial arts for a while, and in there it was pretty physically tough. It actually got to the point where we were trying to do flips but there wasn’t really anyone who knew how to spot, and so that’s when gymnastics kind of came into my life: “I wanna do flips, mom.”


Why do you like gymnastics?

I think every gymnast will tell you it’s the thrill that gets to them.  Like when you’re really scared of something, but you go for it and you land it and you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, yes. I have this now. I can do it anytime, anyplace.”  It just feels really good.


What have you accomplished?

Well, this competition season I actually took a break from competing and I got into track.


What do you do in track?

I do pole vault and long jump. It definitely takes a little bit of time out of my gymnastics schedule, but once track starts coming to an end I think I’ll be in the gym a lot more often. Right now I train about fifteen hours a week.


Where do you go to do gymnastics?

Monday through Wednesday I got to LGA for open gym, and I meet up with a couple of friends there and they help me out. There’s a guy there who helps me out who’s awesome. He was a level ten, and really good.  He can do double layouts and blind pirouettes on the high bar.


Are you preparing for anything currently?

I’m training to go to a mobilization meet, I don’t know where it is yet.


What’s that?

It’s a meet that you go to and compete in the level you were in last year (level eight) and if you get a certain score you move to the next level. It’s only one meet. I can’t remember what the all-around score is i need to qualify for level nine, I think it’s like a 33 or 32. So that’s my next big goal for gymnastics.


Can you explain your decision to move?

Over this past summer my mom had been secretly communicating with one of my gymnastics coach’s parents, and they had worked out the schedule where I’d come up during the week and go home over the weekend and go to school at Free State.  I’m originally from Garnett, Kan.  The move was all for the sake of gymnastics. At first I was going to practice about twenty hours a week at LGA, but track started coming into the picture. I’m actually trying to get on a travelling team for track in Kansas City, and so plans kind of deteriorate when you get into more things.


Who do you live with?

I’m staying with Carol and Sean McGarrity. They have two daughters, and one of them goes to Free State and the other actually used to do gymnastics. But over this summer if I consider staying over here for school next year, which I am almost 90 percent sure I am, I’m probably going to move in Stan and Teresa Rasmussen, whose kids used to go to LGA.


How is it living with them?

They are really nice, really kind, really busy. They still all work. It’s pretty good; I have a lot of privacy I’ve noticed. I thought I’d be pretty involved, but it just so happens we’re all pretty much gone at different times, and so I never really see anyone. So at times I do get lonely, but altogether they’re really supportive and really nice.


That’s awesome. Do you miss your family?

Yes, going over the weekend is really nice.