Meet Laura-Ann Chong

April 21, 2010

Oregon State senior Laura-Ann Chong is preparing for the final gymnastics meets of her career ... the NCAA Championships. While this is the pinnacle of her sport at the collegiate level, this is not new territory for Chong. This week's championships mark the fourth time Chong has helped get the Beavers to NCAA finals, this time she aims for the Beavers to push through to the Super Six. Chong has raised her game in 2010 earning All-Pac-10 First Team honors on bars and beam, winning the Pac-10 title on beam and the NCAA Columbia Regional on the bars. Recently, Chong took a few minutes to talk to Natalie Smith from OSU's Athletic Communications office:

What is your favorite event to compete in?
'My favorite event has changed actually, I still really love competing in floor just because you can relax in your routine and engage the audience. But I like doing bars a lot more this year. I think being successful in it this year has helped me get that confidence to really enjoy performing it instead of getting nervous.'

How does it feel to compete in Gill Coliseum?
'Gill is amazing. Every time you step in and see the audience you get this embracive feeling like I'm home and everyone is here to watch us completely dominate the competition. They're all really supportive of not just the home team but also any visiting team that comes. I know everyone has said it before but Beaver Nation really is one of the best fan bases ever. They're just so humble and really respect the sport.'

Who is your favorite OSU athlete and why?
'I'd have to say that Mandi Rodriguez is one of my favorites. I think just being on the team with her these past four years has been amazing. She's such a strong person and strong gymnast that it's really inspiring to be able to work with her everyday. She pushes me and I know she believes in me and I think that's really helped my senior year just being able to feel that confidence coming from her. She can really just engage the entire team and get that charisma that we want.'

Your first meet as a freshman was at Florida and now your last meet will be at Florida, what does that mean to you?
'When we found out that Florida was going to be nationals this year all three of us seniors looked at each other and were like `Oh my gosh, our very first meet was in Florida and potentially our last meet will be in Florida'. It's just kind of ironic how it worked that way. Our freshmen year we did have a good meet in Florida so I'm excited to return there. It's awesome to be able to start my career there and finish it in the exact same place.'

Would you like to coach one day?
'I would. I love to coach. Whenever we get to do those summer camps for the kids I love coaching them and it's always been a passion of mine. Gymnastics has been apart of my life for so long that it's hard to just stop all of a sudden.'

What is the most played song on your iTunes?
'Probably `Fighter' by Christina Aguilera. I listen to it every meet day.'

Where's your favorite place to eat in Corvallis?
'Tokyo Steak House. I really like Sushi. Oh and I also like Panda Express.'

Fans are encouraged to follow all of the action at the NCAA Championships through OSU's gymnastics championships webpage.

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