Alicia Sacramone, who spoke to young Seattle-area gymnasts this week, will be part of the show Sunday at the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions at KeyArena.
Alicia Sacramone made a heroic comeback after “The Fall” at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a torn Achilles in 2011. But when she was not chosen for the 2012 USA Olympic gymnastics team in July, she rushed out of the San Jose, Calif., gym before even saying goodbye to teammates.
She tweeted from her personal Twitter account — “I leave this sport with no regrets.”
So, what’s life like after a forgettable finish to a storied career?
Actually, it has been a whirlwind that includes a visit to KeyArena on Sunday with the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions. The tour is a high-powered gymnastics show combined with the glitz and glam of a Cirque du Soleil show.
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“People fall,” said Sacramone, a five-time world champion, of the stumble off the balance beam in Beijing. Many believe it cost the Americans gold.
“(The beam) is four inches and you’re doing a lot of high-level skills,” she continued. “You only have that one time to hit and do it right. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t fall for four years of competition before that. But I came back and proved to myself that I can do beam and not fall apart.”
Sacramone, 24, will perform beam, dance numbers and basic tumbling as part of the coed show Sunday. The gymnasts spent about two weeks in Ontario, Canada, training for the 40-city tour that began Sept. 8.
In-between, Sacramone drove from her Boston home to Kansas City to move in with boyfriend Brady Quinn, a Chiefs quarterback. And she made the official launch of her SoleImpact socks, preventive apparel that helps absorb impact shock.
Oh, and there’s the media blitzes around the country to promote the Tour.
“If it weren’t for the Space Needle, I wouldn’t know what city I was in,” Sacramone commented to a publicist.
Sacramone shared her story with hundreds of aspiring gymnasts in the Seattle area Wednesday. Private visits were honors for selling tickets to the event.
The bunch at Emerald City Gymnastics Academy wanted to know about “The Fall.” About Sacramone’s favorite color (blue). And her least-favorite event (bars).
Miyeko Johnson, 11, was particularly glued during the one-hour visit. At the age of 9, she cracked her skull doing a trick where she thought a mat would protect her landing. Despite being unable to train, Johnson spent a year attending meets and practices with her teammates, just watching.
Like Sacramone, Johnson trained harder than ever once she was cleared to compete. Now Johnson is the Level-7 Washington champion in floor exercise.
Johnson was 7 years old when Sacramone won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. She nearly melted when Sacramone called her “sweetie” before signing an autograph Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s crazy seeing them so close,” Johnson said. “You’re just used to seeing them on the TV. Not seeing them in person. It’s really cool … It makes you want to go to the Olympics more.”
The Emerald City club has 12 of the approximate 60 kids from 40 clubs across the state performing in the opening act at KeyArena. The number is set to “Let it Grow” from “The Lorax” soundtrack.
“We try to teach them as many life lessons as we can here, to finish their career without regrets,” Emerald City Gymnastics Academy owner Sandy Flores said. “Looking at somebody like Alicia, who didn’t have the best of endings, but still has no regrets with everything she did in gymnastics. That’s what we want our kids to learn.”
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans