Kyla Ross

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Kyla Ross
— Gymnast —
Kyla Ross 555 edited.jpg
Ross at the 2012 Secret US Classic
Personal information
Full name Kyla Briana Ross
Nickname(s) Mighty Mouse,[1]
Country represented  United States
Born (1996-10-24) October 24, 1996 (age 18)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Residence Aliso Viejo, California
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[2]
Discipline Women's artistic gymnastics
Level Senior International Elite
Years on national team 2009 - present
Club Gym-Max Gymnastics
Head coach(es) Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang
Former coach(es) Sandy Dornbuch, Katherine Anderson, Debra Hutchinson, and Nikolai Dorochenko
Music 2012: The Phantom of the Opera
2013-2014: Le Cirque

Kyla Briana Ross (born October 24, 1996) is an American artistic gymnast who was a member of the Fierce Five[3] - the gold medal-winning US women's gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[4] Ross was also a member of the gold-medal winning US team at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Individually, she is the 2013 World all-around silver medalist and the 2014 World all-around bronze medalist. She is also the 2013 World uneven bars and balance beam silver medalist. [5]

Personal life[edit]

Ross was born on October 24, 1996, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Jason and Kiana Ross. Her father is of African American and Japanese ancestry, and her mother is of Filipino, German, and Puerto Rican descent.[6] Her father was a minor league outfielder for six years.[7] She has two younger siblings, Mckenna and Kayne.[8][9]

Ross attends Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, California. She intends to maintain her amateur eligibility and compete in NCAA gymnastics. Her first choice school is Stanford, and her second choice is UCLA.[10] Ross will graduate from high school in 2015, but plans to defer college enrollment to vie for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.[11]

Early gymnastics career[edit]

Ross's mother said that her daughter was always very strong with a lot of energy: "She was born with muscles. We would go to the park and everybody would say 'Whose baby is on top of that jungle gym?' And I would say 'Oh, that's my baby. Don't worry about her, she's fine.'"[12] Her father added, "It would use all my effort to get her to sit in her car seat, and I'm a pretty big guy, a strong guy. When she was born, we were like, 'Oh my goodness, she has triceps, she has quads hanging off her. What the heck's going on?’ And she was just super strong. I mean, at an early age, she was able to walk across the monkey bars, just hanging herself."[6]

Ross began gymnastics when she was three years old at Greenville Gymnastics Training Center in Greenville, South Carolina. She later trained at Richmond Olympiad in Virginia and National Gymnastics Training Center in Aliso Viejo before she moved to Gym-Max Gymnastics in Costa Mesa, California in 2005.[13] Her coach, Jenny Zhang, was skeptical about Ross's future in gymnastics. She said, "She had this square body, no legs, square shoulders. Howie (Liang) said 'Don't worry about her. She will have long legs.'"[12]

Ross found early success as a competitive gymnast. Between 2005 and 2007, she won five state titles and two national titles.[14]

Ross competed as a level 10 gymnast in 2008. At that year's state championships, she won titles on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise, and in the all-around. She added another title on balance beam and a second-place finish in the all-around at the regional championships. At the 2008 Junior Olympic national championships, Ross won the balance beam, floor exercise, and all-around titles and finished second on vault.[15]

Elite gymnastics career[edit]

2009[edit]

Ross qualified as a junior elite gymnast at the Metroplex Challenge in February.[16] In April, she competed at the American Classic in San Diego, California. She placed second in the all-around with a score of 55.316.[17]

In July, Ross competed at the Cover Girl Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. She placed first in the all-around with a score of 57.000, handily beating future Olympic teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. She also placed first on vault, scoring 15.200, fifth on balance beam with a score of 13.950, and fifth on floor with a score of 14.250.[18]

In August, Ross competed at the Visa Championships in Dallas, Texas. She said, "It's a dream come true to compete in the Visas. I've watched it since I was 7."[19] Competing in her only her second elite meet, she placed first in the all-around competition with a two-day combined score of 114.00, beating current US junior national team member Bridgette Caquatto by more than half a point.[20][21]

Ross also earned two event titles: she placed first on vault, performing a double-twisting Yurchenko and scoring 30.350 over two days, and she finished first on balance beam with a combined score of 29.00. She also won the bronze medal on floor exercise, where she performed to the theme song from "Rawhide," and earned a two-day total of 28.200.[22][23] “It’s very exciting," Ross said of her success at the competition. "I was pretty surprised.”[24]

Ross was chosen to compete at the Pan American Championships in Aracaju, Brazil, in November. She and teammates Caquatto, Raisman, and Sabrina Vega won the team competition, beating the second-place Canadian team by almost 15 points. She also placed first in the all-around competition with a score of 57.400, beating Vega by more than a point.[25] In the event finals, Ross placed first on uneven bars (14.150), first on balance beam (15.000), and second on floor (13.800) behind Raisman.[26]

2010[edit]

Ross was chosen to compete at two international meets in the spring of 2010. In March, she went to the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy, where she placed second in the all-around (56.700) behind Anastasia Grishina.[27] The following month, Ross competed at the 2010 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne, Australia. The team included junior gymnasts Ross and Jordyn Wieber and senior gymnasts Raisman and Rebecca Bross. The team won the gold medal, beating China by more than 15 points.[28] Individually, Ross placed second behind Wieber in the all-around competition (58.00).[29] She also won a gold medal on vault (15.100), and silver on uneven bars (14.250) and floor exercise (14.200).[30]

In July, Ross competed at the Cover Girl Classic in Chicago, Illinois. She placed third behind Wieber and Katelyn Ohashi in the all-around (58.700). She placed first on balance beam (15.250), as well as fourth on vault (15.200) and uneven bars (14.550), and eighth on floor exercise (13.700).[31]

In August, Ross competed at the Visa Championships in Hartford, Connecticut as the defending junior national champion. Despite a fall on uneven bars during her warm-up, Ross earned the highest score on the event on day 1 of the competition (14.05).[32] Despite a mistake on uneven bars on day 2, she finished strong on balance beam (15.45) to win her second straight junior all-around title with a two-day combined score of 116.450. She said, "It feels really great to win for my second time in a row. It's a great opportunity and I was very excited. I knew there was a lot of hard competition."[33][34][35] In the event finals, Ross also won the national title on balance beam (29.900) and placed third on vault (30.450) and floor exercise (28.500) and seventh on uneven bars (27.600).[36]

In September, Ross competed at the Pan American Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. She and teammates Vega, Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Brenna Dowell, and Sarah Finnegan won the team gold medal, beating silver medalist Canada by nearly 20 points.[37] Individually, she placed first in the all-around competition (57.998) ahead of Vega and Jessica Lopez.[38] She won the silver medal on floor (14.075)[39] and placed sixth on uneven bars (13.350).[40]

2011[edit]

Ross again competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy in March. She and teammates Ohashi, Madison Kocian, Lexie Priessman, Elizabeth Price, and Ericha Fassbender won the team event over the Russian team by more than ten points. She also won the all-around competition with a score of 58.750. Grishina, who had bested her the year before, finished fifth.[41]

At the Cover Girl Classic in Chicago, Illinois, in July, Ross won the all-around competition with a score of 58.850 and earned gold on uneven bars (15.000), silver on vault (15.250), and bronze on floor exercise (13.950). She finished fourth on balance beam (14.650).[42][43] When asked if she still gets nervous when competing, she replied, "I still get nervous, but this isn’t as big as Pac Rims, so we’re not as much representing the US, but our own gym, but I still want to do my best."[44]

Ross entered the Visa Championships in Saint Paul, Minnesota in August as the two-time defending junior champion. She struggled on day 1, falling on a double pike on floor exercise and vaulting an Amanar that was devalued to a double-twisting Yurchenko. She finished the day in third place (57.50), behind Ohashi and Finnegan. She stated that the day "didn't really go as planned."[45] On day 2, Ross earned full credit for her Amanar, and her day 2 all-around total bested Ohashi's, 60.15-60.00. However, she finished with a two-day total of 117.65 to Ohashi's 120.95 and earned the all-around silver medal.[46][47][48] In event finals, Ross placed second to Ohashi on uneven bars (29.600) and balance beam (30.450) and finished sixth on floor (27.650).[49]

2012[edit]

Since her 16th birthday fell in 2012, Ross became a senior elite gymnast and was thus eligible to compete at the Olympics. In March, Ross competed at the 2012 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Everett, Washington. The US team consisted of senior gymnasts Ross, Wieber, and Douglas, and junior gymnasts Priessman, Ohashi, and Amelia Hundley. They easily won the competition, beating silver medalist China by nearly 20 points.[50][51] Individually, Ross placed second in the all-around competition (59.200) behind Wieber, the reigning world all-around champion.[52] In the event finals, she earned gold on balance beam (15.375), silver on uneven bars (15.050), and bronze on floor exercise (14.375).[53] "I came out strong and had a good first senior meet," Ross said. "I didn't realize I won beam because I was last on beam and first on floor. I was happy when I learned I won beam."[54] When asked about the upcoming Olympics, she said, "There are very few spots, and it's a very slim chance, so you just have to go home and train as hard as you can every day and hope you make the team. I'm trying to get more experience as a senior and get out there and show my skills and show that I'm strong and a good competitor."[55]

Later that month, Ross competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy for the third straight year. The US team (consisting of Ross, Bross, Brianna Brown, Dowell, Finnegan, Maroney, Price, Raisman, and Mykayla Skinner) again earned an easy victory, finishing more than ten points ahead of silver medalist Italy.[56] Ross also won the all-around competition (59.850) ahead of Raisman and Finnegan.[57] She finished the competition by claiming titles on uneven bars (15.050) and balance beam (15.500) and finishing third on vault (15.550).[58]

In May, Ross competed at the Secret U.S. Classic in Chicago, Illinois. She placed second in the all-around (59.800) behind Raisman. She also placed second on uneven bars (15.450), fifth on balance beam (14.700), and fifth on floor (14.350).[59]

The following month, Ross competed at the Visa Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. Ross placed fourth in the all-around (59.750) on day 1 of the competition and earned the highest score of the day on uneven bars (15.500). She also tied with reigning Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin for for fourth place on beam (15.100).[60][61]

On day 2, Ross improved her all-around total to 60.200. She finished fourth overall, behind Wieber, Douglas, and Raisman, with a two-day combined total of 119.950.[62] In the event finals, she earned the silver medal on uneven bars (30.850) behind Douglas. She also placed fourth on balance beam (30.100) and sixth on floor (28.650).[63] Ross said, "I’m definitely working towards the Olympic team, which is my big goal. I really want to contribute in the All Around, but I think my strengths are vault, bars, and beam, so that’s what I want to show Marta here. It’s the same Visa Championships as every other year, but with the Olympics coming up it’s obviously more of a big deal. All I want to do is go out and have a solid meet. I’ve been training routines as usual with maybe a little more emphasis on cleaning them up, so hopefully that consistency will help me have a good meet."[64]

At the beginning of July, Ross competed at the Olympic Trials in San Jose, California. After the first day she said, "Oh my gosh, I love the crowd. I walked in and shock went right through me. There were so many people and the crowd was just so loud. I was so thrilled to have everyone there watching the meet, but especially my friends and family. I had huge support behind me and was so happy that all of my teammates could come, and that my family could come watch me. A lot of my family from all over the country came."[65] She placed fifth in the all-around competition with a two-day combined score of 120.000.[66] She also tied for first on uneven bars scoring 31.150, and placed third on balance beam scoring 29.950.[67] Afterward, Ross was chosen as a member of the team that will be sent to the 2012 Summer Olympics. She said, "This is the most surreal feeling. Hearing my name called, I couldn't even believe it."[68]

Kyla Ross was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the rest of the USA Women's Olympic Gymnastics team on the July 18, 2012 issue of Olympic Preview. This event marked the first time an entire Olympic gymnastics team had been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.[69]

London Olympics[edit]

At the end of July, Ross competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She helped the American team, nicknamed the "Fierce Five",[70] qualify first to the team final,[71] and individually, she qualified as the second reserve for the uneven bars final with a score of 14.866,[72] After qualifications, Ross said, "It was definitely exciting competing here today. I was surprised I wasn't too nervous. I thought we did well and hopefully we can come back in team finals and fix our little mistakes and do even better."[73] In the team final, she contributed scores of 14.933 on uneven bars and 15.133 on balance beam toward the American team's gold medal finish.[74] Ross said, "We all did our events the best that we could and hit our routines, and we are all really proud of each other. It was really fun watching floor. McKayla and I were together cheering as loud as we could. We were screaming so loud."[75]

2013[edit]

Ross was slated to compete at the 2013 American Cup, but later withdrew from the roster due to an ankle injury.[76] However, she performed an exhibition balance beam routine after the competition had ended.

In March, Ross was chosen to be a part of the USA's European Tour Team who would compete in the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy and the USA-Germany-Romania Tri-Meet in Chemnitz, Germany.

Later in March, Ross competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy. Ross won gold medals in the team and uneven bars competitions, and she won silver in all-around and balance beam.[77]

A week later, Ross competed in the USA-Germany-Romania Tri-Meet in Chemnitz, Germany. Ross contributed to the USA's first place finish. Ross also won the All-Around competition with a score of 59.300.

At the Secret U.S. Classic in July, Ross won gold medals in all-around and uneven bars and a silver medal on balance beam.[78]

At the P&G Championships in August, Ross finished second in the all-around. She won gold medals in uneven bars and balance beam.[79] Ross was invited to the qualifying camp for the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. On September 15, Ross was one of four gymnasts named to the United States team set to compete at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.[80]

In October, Ross competed at the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium. In the all-around final, Ross started on vault, she did a double twisting yurchenko (15.366). On bars, she performed cleanly (15.100). On beam, she finished strong with a double tuck dismount (14.533). On floor, Ross showed a beautiful routine to finish with 14.333 for the silver medal (59.332).[81] She scored 15.266 and finished in second place in the uneven bars final, behind Huang Huidan. Ross was also awarded the Longines Prize for Elegance along with Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, an award given to the male and female gymnast who has displayed the most charisma, charm, and elegance as determined by a voting jury. She also placed 2nd in the balance beam final with a score of 14.833, .067 behind Aliya Mustafina.[82]

2014[edit]

Ross was slated to compete at the 2014 American Cup but withdrew from the roster due to a back injury.[83]

Over March 22–23, Ross competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Italy, where she won gold medals in the team and all-around competitions. She also won silver in uneven bars and floor exercise but finished 6th in balance beam.[84] The following month (April 9–12), Ross competed at the Pacific Rim Championships in Richmond, B.C., Canada. She won gold medals in team and balance beam and took silver in all-around, uneven bars, and floor exercise.[85]

On August 2, Ross competed at the Secret U.S. Classic, where she finished second all-around and third on uneven bars, first on balance beam, and second on floor.[86] Later that month, she competed at the P&G Championships and finished second all-around and first on balance beam, sixth on uneven bars, and fifth on floor.[87][88]

On August 21–23, Ross competed at the 2014 P&G Championships. She had a rough first day falling on her first tumbling pass on floor (whip to double Arabian), scoring only a 13.750. She had a good beam routine (15.200) and vault (15.050), but fell on her double layout uneven bars dismount (she had a low landing and her knee touched the floor, forcing the judges to count that as a fall) and scored a low 13.950. She ended up fourth after Day 1 but came back strong on all four apparatuses on the second day, earning a 15.200 on vault, a 15.000 on bars, a 15.350 on beam, and a 14.800 on floor. She changed her first pass on floor so she would not fall again (no whip/round-off back handspring into double Arabian into stag jump), so despite changing her first pass, Ross gained start value rather than lost on her two days of competition (5.5 day 1, 5.6 day 2). She won the balance beam (30.550). She took 5th on floor (28.550) and tied with Veronica Hults for sixth on uneven bars (28.950). Despite her mistakes on the first day, Ross took the silver in the all-around behind Simone Biles with a combined two-day total of 118.300 and was named to her third consecutive senior national team for the 2014-2015 season.

On September 17, Ross was selected to compete at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China.[89] Alongside teammates Alyssa Baumann, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian, Ashton Locklear, and Mykayla Skinner, Ross won gold in the team final. Individually, she qualified to the all-around and balance beam finals. She was also second reserve for the uneven bars final. In the all-around final, Ross unexpectedly won the bronze medal after mistakes from Aliya Mustafina of Russia and Yao Jinnan of China. Biles went on to win gold and Larisa Iordache of Romania won the silver medal. Ross placed sixth in the balance beam final, where Biles again won gold and Bai Yawen of China won silver. Throughout the competition, however, Ross had been known to be dealing with hip and groin injuries.

Following the world championships she said that her main priority was to upgrade her difficulty across all four events.

Competitive history[edit]

Year Event AA Team VT BB UB FX
2009 CoverGirl Classic (junior) 1st 1st 5th 5th
Visa Championships (Junior) 1st 1st 1st 12th 3rd
Junior Pan American Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd
2010 City of Jesolo Trophy (Junior) 2nd
Pacific Rim Championships (Junior) 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd
CoverGirl Classic (Junior) 3rd 4th 1st 4th 8th
Visa Championships (Junior) 1st 3rd 1st 7th 3rd
Pan American Championships 1st 1st 6th 2nd
2011 City of Jesolo Trophy (Junior) 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 7th
CoverGirl Classic (Junior) 1st 2nd 4th 1st 3rd
Visa Championships (Junior) 2nd 3rd 2nd 2nd 6th
2012 Pacific Rim Championships 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 3rd
City of Jesolo Trophy 1st 1st
Secret U.S. Classic 2nd 4th 5th 2nd 5th
Visa Championships 4th 4th 2nd 6th
U.S. Olympic Trials 5th 3rd 1st 9th
Olympic Games 1st
2013 City of Jesolo Trophy 2nd 1st 2nd 1st
Secret U.S. Classic 1st 2nd 1st 12th
P&G Championships 2nd 1st 1st 7th
World Championships 2nd 2nd 2nd 5th
2014 City of Jesolo Trophy 1st 1st 6th 2nd 2nd
Pacific Rim Championships 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd
Secret U.S. Classic 2nd 1st 3rd 2nd
P&G Championships 2nd 1st 6th 5th
World Championships 3rd 1st 6th

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