There are actually several reasons I love this particular gymnast.
She has a grace and elegance (duh....she's a college gymnast, for crying out loud), but she also has incredible poise for a freshman.
Every year at the Meet the Team dinner, each table has a gymnast or a coach who sits with the common folks. This year Hubby and I chose the table where this young lady's name was on the placard. I was afraid the freshmen might not be the ones most people flocked to. Besides, it was at the back of the room, so we didn't have to walk far.
She told us at dinner that she has two brothers and five step-brothers. Lord help her. I noticed she wasn't eating her dessert, and I thought to myself, "These poor girls...they don't even get to eat cake because they have to maintain their weight and their body lines." Then I saw her murmur something to a waiter, he came back and murmured something back to her, and she dug into that cake like I would dive into a pool of chocolate. Turns out she has nut allergies, and she was (quietly) making sure the cake didn't have nuts in it. I was impressed with how elegantly she handled the situation without bringing attention to herself.
In the picture above, she is at the tail end of her signature move on beam, a front aerial that she takes directly into that (arabesque?) pose without putting her foot down on the beam. It's a tremendously difficult skill, and she does it beautifully. The past two meets I think it's gotten into her head, and she hasn't continued the move to finish with the leg back and up. She doesn't get penalized for it; she just doesn't get the bonus points for connecting two moves. I'm confident she'll get it back. I saw that move on video before I ever met her in person, and I was enthralled. If I could find a clip of it that wouldn't force you to sit through an entire series of beam routines, I would share it.
After the SEC Gymnastics Championships were televised, I wrote a smirky, snarky, snorty little post about an Alabama gymnast who forgot her floor routine. (It was okay to make fun of her, since her team wound up winning not only the SEC Championship but the NCAA Championship as well.) As it turns out, forgetting one's routine isn't as uncommon as you might think.
In our coach's weekly online chat session on Monday night (not that I set a phone alarm to remind me to attend THAT, you understand), someone asked him why Sarah's floor routine was different from the LSU meet to the Utah meet last weekend. (Apparently this person pays a lot more attention to things than I do, because I would never have noticed.) The person said her routine against LSU was much prettier than the one against Utah and wondered why the change.
The coach replied that against LSU (the PRETTIER routine), Sarah forgot her routine and made up the choreography on the fly. In the meet against Utah, she performed routine as it was originally choreographed.
Her score against LSU? The made up routine? 9.875.
Her score against Utah? 9.825.
And if that isn't reason enough to love this girl, I don't know what is.