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​​BECKY WING: MY STORY

Becky Wing
​ 
Age: 24
 
Club: Heathrow
  
College: Stanford
​ 
Favorite Event: Beam

Career Highlights:


  • 2015 Second Team All-American on Beam
  • 2x Pac-12 All-Academic
  • 3x NACGC/W Scholastic All-American
  • Award of Excellence (graduated in top 10% of my class)
  • Graduated with a 3.7 GPA in Mechanical engineerinE
  • Competed at two World Championships  (2007 & 2009)
  • 2008 Beijing Olympics Team Member
  • 2006, 2010 British Team champion
How did you find out about NCAA?
I first heard a little bit about the NCAA when Nicola Willis started competing for Florida but at the time I was training for Beijing and so most of my focus was on that. Then in 2009, Stanford sent me a letter (I still to this day don’t know how they got my address lol!) but at first I didn’t think it was something I was interested in at all. I actually dismissed the idea completely until Marissa King came home from Florida after her season and told me all about her experience. It sounded so fun that she convinced me to reconsider the idea and so that was when I really started taking the idea seriously. I then got back in contact with Stanford and went from there.

How did you get recruited?
As I said, Stanford sent me a letter expressing their interest in me and asking if NCAA gymnastics was something that I was interested in. I also received emails from various other schools including Florida, UCLA, Yale, Georgia and Alabama.

Why did you choose Stanford?
While I didn’t know much about American Universities before I went, I had heard of Stanford University and knew that it was a very good school. However after I did some research and found out that Stanford was the 3rd best university in the world, it was really a no-brainer that it would be my top choice. If I stayed in the UK, I would have had to choose between gymnastics or an education, and yet here I was being given the opportunity to be able to do both at one of the best universities in the world!

What do you see as positives of doing both NCAA gymnastics and elite gymnastics?
To me it almost felt like competing in the NCAA was a reward after a long elite career. Since you can’t make a living out of gymnastics, it is the perfect way to continue doing gymnastics

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The summer after my freshman year I tore my ACL. I’d experienced other injuries during my career but nothing this serious before. I had my surgery at the beginning of my sophomore year and then began the road to recovery but I was unable to do any gymnastics for almost 6 months. I had to figure out other ways that I could still contribute to the team without doing gym. It was a strange transition but definitely taught me invaluable skills as I took on the role of supporting teammate and leader by voice not just by example.

What do you think the benefits of the NCAA system are vs. university in the UK for athletes?
Academically I think it is a good system because you don’t have to decide what you want to study until your second or third year. This is ideal for people who don’t know what they want get their degree in before they start (like me). Also, in the UK, there is no real option for gymnasts to compete at a high level and get a degree at the same time and so most athletes have to chose one or the other, which is unfortunate.

What is your most memorable experience from your time at Stanford?
One moment that really sticks out in my mind was competing at the Super Six my senior year. This is the national team final where the top 6 teams in the nation compete for the National Championship. We had only made it to Super Six once before in 2012 and so entering my final year the seniors made it a goal to qualify one last time. It was also the last time I would ever compete gymnastics so there was a lot of emotions going on! I ended up competing one of the best routines of my life and Stanford also had the best bars and beam scores of the day. It was just such an incredible feeling of all our hard work paying off, and the most incredible way to end my career - I still get goosebumps thinking  about it.

How was training different in the US than in elite?
There was two major differences for me: the skills and the team culture. In respect to skills, your routines are shorter but because every routine is out of 10, the focus is on perfection and less on difficulty, which definitely catered to my style of gymnastics. The second difference was the fact that at college there is a huge emphasis on the team. There isn’t much of an individual aspect to the sport any more and so everything you do is for the better of the team, not just yourself.

Would you recommend the NCAA route to other gymnasts/athletes from the UK?
I definitely would encourage as many people as possible to take the opportunity if it arises. Especially if you still love gymnastics but feel that there isn’t much left to achieve in your elite career.

What degree did you obtain, and do you consider it useful now you have graduated?
I got my degree in Product Design which is essentially Mechanical Engineering with a design focus. I absolutely loved it while I may not stay in mechanical engineering, I definitely hope to stay in a creative role in my next job.

Do you think gymnasts in the UK have enough access to information and inspiration in regards to trying to follow the NCAA route?
I really don’t think there is enough information right now for UK gymnasts, especially for elite gymnasts who are at a national level, but maybe don’t have a big name for themselves internationally. We hope that by sharing our experiences and process, we can provide the information to help other gymnasts follow in our footsteps.