Just like the revamped SoonerSports.com, Inside Glimpse, which chronicles the happenings of the Oklahoma women's gymnastics program through the eyes of assistant coaches Nilson Savage and Jenny Rowland, is back with a new look. The Inside Glimpse, which has been a regular feature on OU's athletics website for the last year, focuses on news and issues that the sporting public does not usually have access to.
Of the 13 members on our current gymnastics team, nobody in 1987 knew that they would ever be competing in gymnastics for the University of Oklahoma. The majority of them at age four barely knew how to read. But in that same year, wearing the crimson and cream leotard for the University of Oklahoma, there was a young gymnast from Altus, Okla. She wrote history by being proclaimed the 1987 NCAA gymnastics all-around champion. What Kelly Garrison-Fuson did sixteen years ago is a feat that has yet to be matched by any OU gymnast.
Garrison-Fuson was taking the world of collegiate gymnastics to a new level with her unique style and breathtaking grace and beauty. She was a member and team captain of the 1988 Olympic team, three-time national beam champion. She represented the University of Oklahoma from 1986 to 1988. She still stands as one of the most accomplished gymnast ever for OU. Garrison-Fuson has gained All-American status on all apparatuses including the all-around title in 1987 and 1988 at the NCAA championships. Kelly’s former club and collegiate coach, Becky Switzer, knew she was a star from the first moment she met her.
“Kelly was definitely the best in the country at that time,” said Switzer. “Her graceful performances brought crowds all over the country to their feet for numerous standing ovations during her career. It was very hard to get gymnasts of her caliber to compete at the collegiate level. She opened the eyes of young elite-level athletes and proved that it is possible to get a great continuing education while still competing in the sport of gymnastics.”
Over the past four years, our program has been ranked as high as third place in the regular season and in 2001 we qualified to the NCAA National Championships finishing 10th. Garrison-Fuson’s recent visit to our gym was very motivating and reinforced the validity of our program and what we hope to accomplish in the near future.
Our team is back from the Thanksgiving break, rested, and ready for the last phase of our pre-season workouts. Concentrating more on team sets as well as continuing the strength program in order to keep everyone healthy throughout the season is the primary goal in the gym. The end of the academic semester is upon us, as well and the girls will be preparing for finals in the next couple of weeks. Balancing classes and practice at this time of year is always difficult. However, knowing this group of girls, the coaching staff has no doubt they will get the job done! Our first official intrasquad is scheduled for Friday, December 5th at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center at 7:00pm. Hopefully we will see you there and GO SOONERS!