Ask The Bruins Chat Wrap: Jeanette Antolin
March 5, 2004
Q: Jeanette: Congratulations on a great season so far! How are you dealing with the end of your gymnastics career? What are you planning to do after graduation? I will see you at NCAAs! Best of luck to you and the rest of the Bruins! Rachel (Corona)
A: I am both sad and excited to be done with gymnastics. I know I will miss it a lot, but I know it is time to move on to new things. After 19 years of gymnastics, I think it is time to be done, and my body feels the same way. After I graduate, I want to go into the fashion industry and go to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in New York. After I learn about the fashion industry, I want to work in anything fashion-related. Fashion has always been my second love to gymnastics, so since gymnastics is going to be over, it will be a good transition into my second love.
Q: Jeanette... awesome!!! You have been so rock solid the past few years. Do you even get nervous before competing? I ask this because you always look confident, poised and certain that you will hit. I can't wait to see a UCLA sweep at nationals! Rachel (Davis, CA)
A: Yes, I still get nervous before I compete, but the more consistent and confident I become in my skills the less nervous I get. I don't get as nervous as I used to, but the key is to put on a game face like you're not nervous. I guess I have done a pretty good job with my game face!
Q: Jeanette- I saw you compete at the world team trials when it was in Kansas City. Since then, I've admired your gymnastics. With the U.S. team in need of a strong vault and floor specialist for the Olympics-why not just go for it? Can you escalate? You can do DTY, right? Are you healthy? You know how to perform under pressure in a team-oriented environment. College gymnastics has taught you a lot - can you use that to your advantage and try? Steve (Kansas City, MO)
A: Well, I'm honored that you think I would have a chance to be on the Olympic team as a vault and floor specialist, but I don't see that as something I would want to put myself through again. It would take so much time and hard work to get into that level of competition; I don't think my body would hold up through the vigorous training. If my body wasn't so old I might have thought about it, but there is a lot of talent on the USA National Team I'm sure they will be just fine.
Q: Jeanette, it is such an inspiration to see you overcome adversity and make it back as one of the top all-arounders this season. What do you think has made the difference for you? Jim Graham (Saskatoon, Sk)
A: It makes me so happy when I hear that my adversity has inspired people. It's encouraging for me to know that there was a purpose for me to go through such hard times. I really believe the difference for me was when I recommitted my life to the Lord; He changed my life around. I made it through getting kicked off the team and almost out of school by relying on the Lord for his strength. By going through such a hard time my first couple of years at UCLA, it has taught me so many life lessons that are going to help me throughout the rest of my life.
Q: Hi Jeanette! Congratulations on all your success at the collegiate level! How are you always able to perform consistently well in competitions, especially on vault? And how has being a Christian affected your life and gymnastics? Thanks! Tiffany (LA)
A: My consistency in competition comes from a lot of repetition in the gym over the years. The more repetitions of a skill I do, the more confident I become doing it, and the less nervous I get doing it in competition. This allows me to be more consistent in competition. Honestly, I would just have to say that since I have been doing this vault for so long, that is why it is so consistent.
Being a Christian has greatly affected my life and gymnastics because it allows me to know that I have a greater purpose in life than only being a gymnast. It has taught me never to take anything for granted and to live life to its fullest. I rely on the Lord for everything, and without Him I would not be where I am today. I give Him all the glory for all of my success.
Q: You're my favorite gymnast! My parents take me to lots of your meets. How many hours a week do you guys train? You look strong, how strong are you? Good luck!! A: I work out four hours a day and five days a week. As far as asking how strong I am ... Well, that's a really hard question, but I think mentally and physically you have to be strong to compete at this level of gymnastics.
Q: Hi Jeanette, Congratulations on such a great year -- I'm so happy about all the success you've had so far! Miss Val mentioned that your back was bothering you earlier in the season. Is it still a problem... how are you feeling? It's amazing you can do all that difficulty with a sore back! I hope it's not too serious. Betsy (Boston)
A: I have had some trouble with my back ever since I was in elite gymnastics. Unfortunately, I deal with my back pain daily, but working with the great UCLA trainers,'Chris' in particular, it has allowed me to be able to compete and deal with my pain throughout the season.
Q: Can you talk about what it feels like to be a gymnastics celebrity? It must be interesting to be unrecognizable by 95% of the general population, but adored and sought-after by the other 5%! Lara (The Bronx)
A: Well I don't really consider myself a celebrity, but being in the spotlight of the collegiate gymnastics world, it makes me feel good that I could be a positive role model.
Q: Jeanette, you've been doing so great this year. How does this year compare to the past? April (Los Angeles)
A: This year has been a great year! Thanks! It is by far incomparable to any other year that I have had here at UCLA so far. I am happy that I can end my career without any regrets and being a part of one of the best programs in the world.
Q: Jeanette, I've watched most of your elite career and have been a fan for a long time. I know I have written you several times. Do you get a lot of fan mail? And when you are having a hard time in gym do you ever go back to old fan mail and read them? Jessica (Minnesota)
A: I used to get a lot of fan mail, and I have tried to answer as much as possible, but with such a busy schedule it was hard to answer them all. Sorry if I was never able to respond to some of your letters, but I appreciate them greatly. I do have many old fan mail letters, and sometimes I do read them. Thanks for your support!
Q: Jeanette, as a former teammate of yours at SCATS and Gym Max, it's great to see you doing so well in college cuz you always were such a hard worker. What do you think has been the key to all your success and consistency this season? Good luck to you and the rest of the team against Michigan and at NCAA's! Jason Georgiou (Garden Grove)
A: Hey Jason, nice to hear from you! I think the key to my consistency and success this season has been keeping my focus on God. I feel like he has had a perfect plan for me this whole time, and this year it finally all came together.
Q: Hey Jeanette, You've been on fire all year. Do you consider yourself a stronger gymnast now than when you were an elite? How does the coaching vary from elite to NCAA level? Good luck at championships... GO UCLA! Natasha (Sherman Oaks, CA)
A: I would have to say I am a stronger gymnast now than I was in elite gymnastics. Since I have been in college, I have learned a lot about strength and conditioning and have been able to apply it to my gymnastics. Coaching in college is very different from the elite level. I would have to say the biggest difference for me is that my coaches respect my opinion on my day-to-day training and understand that there is more to life then just gymnastics. Thank you, Natasha.
Q: Hi Jeanette, I luuuuuv your front handspring to knee, immediate back handspring 1/4 turn on beam. Where did you come up with the idea to put those elements together? Jessica (Huntington Beach)
A: I used to do this in my beam routine years ago. I just brought it out of retirement to change things up a bit. I believe my old coach Don Peters came up with this combination; he was always very inventive and had me try many different things. I was kind of a guinea pig with his new creations, but that is what made my gymnastics stand out. Thank you, Jessica.