10.0 Spotlight - Aisha Gerber

Jan. 7, 2009

Freshman Aisha Gerber is the featured gymnast in 10.0 Spotlight, which will profile a member of the UCLA Gymnastics squad throughout the season. Gerber, who hails from Cambridge, ON, is a former Canadian National Team member. In 2006, she became the first Canadian woman ever to medal at the American Cup, taking home a bronze medal in the all-around. Also that year, she placed fifth on floor and sixth on beam at the World Cup finals. In 2005, she won the Canadian national title on uneven bars.

What made you decide to attend UCLA?
There are so many reasons why I came. I think that the best way to sum it up is that everything felt right. With other schools that I looked at, there always seemed to be little details, however small, that I just didn't like or agree with. I didn't have any of that with UCLA!

How would you describe your first quarter at UCLA? Do you have any ideas yet about what you want to major in or what you hope to do as a career?
First quarter was a challenge. It was all really new, and I felt far away from home. However, I'm really looking forward to this next quarter. Not only will we be competing, but I feel like I'll have a better understanding of how to live as a college student in general. Right now, I'm majoring in Physiological Science, and in the end I hope to work in some field of athletic therapy.

You are known for your performance quality and dance ability. Were these innate or did you take dance and work on these? Would you ever consider pursuing dance as a career?
I started dancing in my living room before I ever started gymnastics. To this day, I still do that very thing, except now it's in my dorm room. I just can't help myself. Other than basic ballet exercises with my old choreographer, I've had no training in dance. I've often thought of dance as a career, but to be honest, I wouldn't know where to begin. Either way, I know that once I retire from gymnastics I will probably pick up dance as a replacement activity. I really can't see my life without dance.

You have always had exceptional choreography. What was your experience like working with Miss Val as new choreographer? How is her aesthetic, technique and teaching style different from others you have worked with? And did the artistic reputation of UCLA have anything to do with your decision to come here?
My experience with Miss Val was extremely fun. It was very different from what I've done in the past, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh artistic challenge that it brought. When I was being recruited, artistic poise was one of the points I had written down on my checklist. When I found out that Miss Val was a dancer and I saw the routines she had choreographed in the past I got really excited.

What are the top three stereotypes Americans have about Canadians that you've discovered since moving to the U.S., and how accurate or inaccurate are they?
1. Apparently Canadians have an accent. I personally don't know what you guys are talking about. The most common example is the way we pronounce the 'ou' sound in words like 'out', 'house' and 'couch'.
2. A lot of Americans think Canada is always cold. It is in some parts, this is true, but where I live we get temperatures of well over 90F during the summertime.
3. Then of course there's always the very stereotypical 'eh'. I really don't say it very often, nor do most of the Canadians I know. However, people here always love to point it out when I do say it.

What are your thoughts about the way the elite code has changed over the past several years and the loss of the 10? Are you excited to get back to the old 10.0 scoring system in college?
I love, love, love the 10.0 scoring system. I really don't like the change that has been made in the elite scoring system. I have yet to see any benefits from the switch, and I am very excited to be working with the old code again.

What is your most favorite skill to compete, and what skill do you most wish to perfect?
I LOVE competing vault. It's so fast and aggressive. I just love standing at the end of the runway and feeling the adrenaline build. And then when you go, you can release all of that energy in one short, powerful burst. I am really working hard to perfect my bar dismount.

You've traveled all over the world for competitions. What was your most memorable trip and most unusual travel moment? Which place would you most like to visit again and why?
My most memorable trip was this past April when I went to Germany. I knew that it would probably be my last international trip before going to UCLA, and I made it my goal to enjoy every moment of it, and I did. When I shifted my focus onto having fun, I got a lot less nervous, and even though it wasn't my best competition, I was able to experience every minute of it to the fullest.

I've been fortunate enough to have escaped any terrible travel stories, and I can't say that I've had any really unusual ones either, but I do have a funny one. It was on my trip to Hawaii in 2004. Our team had spent a week in Calgary, Alberta for a training camp, during which I got a really bad cold. My coach at the time, not wanting me to get cold on the plane, bundled me up in at least 3-4 layers of clothing. It was all well and good until I got off the plane in Honolulu. Not only was I ridiculously hot, but I got about a million weird looks as I made my way back to the hotel.

I would love to visit Switzerland again. It was such a beautiful country. I got to see the Alps from a distance, and they were stunning. I'd love to go back and drive through them sometime.

What are your interests outside of gymnastics?
I like reading, dancing in my dorm (or anywhere really), singing and doing outdoor stuff (one of my favourites is hiking)

What is your favorite song to sing?
I have so many!! Probably one of my top favourites, though, was a piece called 'Lux Aurumque'. It's this beautiful Latin, a capella piece. Outside of choir, I love singing anything that I know the lyrics to.

Lightning round:
Favorite book?

Redeeming Love

Best movie you've seen recently?
The Pursuit of Happyness

Can't-miss TV show?
The Office

All-time favorite gymnast?
Lilia Podkopayeva

Biggest pet peeve in gymnastics?
WEDGIES ... without a doubt!

Something you can't live without ...
Sleep :)

Favorite thing to do in LA?
Go driving places with my team

Favorite singer?
Bruce Cockburn

Best blooper moment in the gym or in competition?
I fell on cat-leap 2/1 at Pacific Alliance 2006. I won't ever forget that one, even if I try to.

If you could trade places with any member of your team, who would it be and why?
I kind of wonder what it would be like to be Miss Val for a day. I wonder what it would be like to be the boss ...

Describe yourself in one word.

Describe your team in one word.



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