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With extra confidence in herself, Grace McCallum prepared for return after injured season

With extra confidence in herself, Grace McCallum prepared for return after injured season


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SALT LAKE CITY — The final yr has been something however typical for Purple Rocks gymnast Grace McCallum.

A month into her sophomore season final yr, McCallum suffered a critical knee damage on vault that stored her out of competitors for 2 months as she rehabbed. Realistically, it ought to have been a season-ending damage, however McCallum persevered and made it again in time for nationals to compete on bars and beam.

Add to that the “onerous decision-making” of deciding on whether or not to place her collegiate profession on maintain to pursue one other Olympics bid — to say nothing of dropping a head coach a month earlier than the 2024 season began — and there was rather a lot at play within the offseason for McCallum.

However going into her junior season, McCallum is refreshed, assured, and able to be again on the ground once more as an all-around competitor.

“I feel it simply means much more having the ability to compete once more, simply because I missed half of final season,” McCallum stated. “It is made me admire it much more, and simply having fun with each second. … I’ve gone by each competing on all 4 occasions nearly each weekend to sitting on the sidelines and watching, so I really feel like I’ve an excellent perspective.”

That perspective has made McCallum a “phenomenal chief” for the staff, head coach Carly Dockendorf stated. McCallum has the belief of the staff in each occasion — very similar to in yr’s previous — however she’s added to that along with her management off the ground, too.

“I feel for her, simply being again and having the ability to be on the market and do what she loves is basically thrilling for her and for the staff,” Dockendorf stated. “I imply, she’s an exceptional chief. She leads by instance each single day, and to have her on the market competing on all 4 occasions, I feel, supplies plenty of stability and expertise and belief in her for the staff.”

Already some of the versatile and veteran gymnasts on the Purple Rocks, McCallum stated she’s getting into her junior season with extra confidence and belief in herself, particularly on beam, the place she stated she’s lacked essentially the most confidence over time.

“I’ve all the time struggled with my confidence on beam, and I really feel like this yr, I’ve by no means felt so assured,” McCallum stated. “Sure, I am human, I make errors and I am gonna have little bobbles right here and there, however general, I simply really feel so significantly better and extra assured.”

As a part of that, Dockendorf stated McCallum is giving herself “some extra grace with making a mistake” in how she performs and never anticipating perfection. As an alternative of getting too labored up over a missed alternative and being too onerous on herself, McCallum is attempting to maintain the whole lot in perspective.

“I feel she’s simply began to love the occasion extra, so I feel you’ll be able to see her confidence construct in it. … Now she’s like, ‘OK, yeah, possibly that wasn’t nice, however subsequent time it will be higher,’ and I feel that is actually helped present some persistence for her and a bit of extra love for the occasion,” Dockendorf stated. “And in return, she’s clearly gotten rather a lot higher at it.”

McCallum plans to have related routines this season — together with her patented wolf turns the place she throws in one thing additional every week — however with that renewed sense of confidence that ought to make beam extra gratifying.

In flip, that confidence will carry over into the opposite occasions and permit her to be extra current along with her teammates, particularly as a pacesetter on the staff. Tremendous seniors Maile O’Keefe, Abby Paulson and Jaedyn Rucker proceed to have the largest influence, McCallum stated, however she’s discover her personal voice, as properly.

“I feel it is essential to actually sort of be genuine to your self and simply sort of be your individual chief,” McCallum stated. “You needn’t comply with someone simply because they’re such a tremendous chief. So I assume everyone has their very own management roles and types, so I am simply attempting to determine what mine will be for the staff.

“I hope I can simply push the ladies within the fitness center to work actually onerous day-after-day and simply know that I am there for them at any time when they want it. In the event that they ever have to ask a query or simply want someone to face there with them within the fitness center whereas they do additional or no matter, I simply wish to be prepared for them on a regular basis.”

The Purple Rocks open the season with a house meet on the Huntsman Heart Friday (7 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks) towards Boise State earlier than a first-of-its-kind gymnastic invitational occasion on the Maverik Heart, that includes the Purple Rocks in a quad meet towards LSU, Oklahoma and UCLA on Jan. 13 (2 p.m. MST, ABC.

“I feel it is a nice meet to begin with, as a result of it isn’t a ton of stress and it is simply — it will be enjoyable to get again on the market and compete towards an important staff, but in addition not have the added stress of going towards, like, Oklahoma as a result of they’re the No. 1 staff,” McCallum stated. “However it’ll be an important begin.”

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Josh is the Sports activities Director for KSL.com and beat author protecting College of Utah athletics — primarily soccer, males’s and ladies’s basketball and gymnastics. He’s additionally an Related Press Prime 25 voter for faculty soccer.

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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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