Before the gymnastics team opens their Ivy schedule with a home meet against rival Penn this weekend, senior Colleen Davis taught Sun Assistant Sport Editor Lance Williams how she dismounts her horse.
1. I’ve never interviewed a gymnast before and apparently it hasn’t happened since you’ve been here, so I’m sorry I have to start this on a somber note. But I’m very sorry for your recent injury, how did it happen?
My right leg was sore in practice for two weeks so I just started icing it in the training room. But we were practicing this past week for the Cortland meet and I was vaulting upstairs. I did one and it kind of hurt, but then I did another one, just a regular vault, and I felt a snap. I barely made it to the horse and fell in the pit on my back. Apparently I screamed really loud. I kind of knew…
That it was bad news bears? You tore your Achilles tendon, right?
I heard that it is one of the most painful injuries around.
I’ve had a lot of injuries, four surgeries and lots of other stuff. But it was a different kind of pain. I heard it snap, which first of all is disgusting, and then it rolls up into a ball …
That’s what I was going to ask about.
So yeah, my Achilles is currently in my calf because I haven’t had surgery yet.
That’s terrible, I’m sorry.
It just feels like a big knot, a big Charlie horse in my leg. It was throbbing and heat was radiating from it.
Did it instantly roll up?
Yeah, but the trainers thought it was only partially torn at first. It was really painful and still actually really hurts to move.
Once again, I’m very sorry. I know you’re a senior who has been an All-American three years in a row, so that’s just not that cool. Moving to the team for a second, since I always like to start out serious before …
[Interrupts] Before you get embarrassing …
Exactly, just to warm you up for a little bit. Last year was arguably one of the best years in team history, do you think the team can repeat that type of performance with all the girls you lost last year and now losing you?
Yeah I think so. We definitely have more depth than we did last year. And also we lost our best all-arounder last year to a torn Achilles and we were still very successful. The team picked up where they lost her production and this year, since I only did one event, I know there are a lot of freshman who, although they haven’t made it yet, I fell like they have the ability to easily take my spot and be just as successful. I think we can be even better than last year.
2. I hear you are a huge Boston sports fan as a native of Massachusetts. Give me a prediction for the Super Bowl this weekend.
Well the Patriots are definitely going to win.
OK, that was a shocker. What is the score going to be?
No field goals?
Alright, I’ll take that. The spread is 13, I believe, so you’re going over the spread.
I have confidence: Tom Brady.
He is a legend. Would you rather get a Pats Super Bowl win or a team national championship?
Like, the gymnastics team?
[Laughing] Yeah, that would be your team.
Well I’m going to go with the gymnastics team just because the Pats already have several Super Bowls. Especially not competing, I’d like to see my team win. And I know the Pats are going to win anyway.
We’ll see. I think the Giants with their pass rush are going to show up. Why does Boston have the best sports teams ever?
One reason is coaching. Well number one, the Patriots’ coaching is outstanding, you can’t really beat that. Two, I think Boston sports fans are so into the sports that they motivate the teams to win. Their support pushes them to make us proud.
Tom Brady or Jacoby Ellsbury?
I’m a bigger baseball fan but in terms of looks, definitely Tom Brady.
What else are you basing your criteria on?
Well, based on Tom Brady’s female history, that is not the best situation. Well what are you asking about?
I leave that up to you.
I think Brady is a better athlete.
Tom Brady or Kevin Garnett?
[Laughing] Tom Brady.
That was a quick one.
I’m not really a basketball fan and he’s new, so we need to break him in.
That sounded wrong.
3. I heard you are really into squatting, what’s the deal with that?
Well everyone thinks I really like to lift because, well, I’m good at it.
You’re trying to get huge?
No, we have to lift twice a week, and everyone else complains about it. I don’t particularly like waking up at 8:00 a.m. to do it but it came easily to me. I came in freshman year having never lifted weights before, they were teaching us how to squat and after I did the bar I was like, “Are you serious?” So I just started packing on the weights.
It was love at first sight.
It was, I’m good at it.
Why does the team squat record mean so much to you?
It doesn’t really.
That’s not what I hear.
I can’t talk about this.
Because my roommate has the squat record right now.
I see, a little secret rivalry action going on?
My teammates basically wanted me to do it because they know I’m strong. I tried to build up to it this semester, but now it’s not going to happen.
Have you tried it before and you did not succeed, or were you just working your way up?
Building my way up to it. I got to 300 pounds with a spot, but I didn’t exactly make it.
Wow. That’s almost three 45 pound plates on each side, right?
Do you think I could do that?
[Sizes Lance up for three seconds] No.
[Laughing] I saw that one coming. But good answer, I can’t.
But I don’t like lifting, I just do it because we have to and it comes easily to me.
Fair enough, I’m not judging. Will you try to get the one-legged squat record now?
What would that be?
Well her record is 315 on two legs.
You’d split that in half?
Wouldn’t that be the only fair way?
I guess so. I’d like to see it in person though. You also squatted a freshman right?
[Laughing] I did.
We were just having a team gathering and someone said, “I bet you can’t squat me.” So she jumped on my back and …
You straight up squatted her?
I straight up squatted her.
With good form?
Yeah, it was not a problem.
I believe it, you look very strong. Do you think you could beat me up?
[Head coach Paul Beckwith laughs and nods his head while sweeping the bleachers]
Your coach is agreeing with you from the grandstand.
That’s messed up coach.
4. I believe you are a geography and trivia whiz …
[Interupts] Oh yeah I’m great.
Who is Anne Frank?
I really get this mixed up all the time. That Jewish girl who lives in the attic.
[Slowly] That Jewish girl who lives in the attic? Wow. Well first of all, she lived in the attic because she died in the holocaust. And can you do an impersonation of her for me?
[Laughing] No, I only impersonate Helen Keller.
Have you impersonated Anne Frank before?
And what did that look like, just go ahead and do one for me.
[Makes indecipherable grunts, curls wrists and wiggles hands back and forth]
We were playing Taboo and the top of the card said Anne Frank. So I thought, “I know who that is, it’s easy!”
And you proceeded to do the I’m a retard bit when, in fact, she is a Jewish hero?
[Laughing] I know. I got confused!
Do you know how many Jewish people are on this campus? You’re going to get hate mail, just like me.
I’m going to be in the hospital, I don’t think so.
Good point, sympathy votes. Did you at one time think Washington, D.C. was in Canada?
No, they didn’t say Washington before the D.C., they just said D.C. And I was like, isn’t that in Canada?
Even still, what did you think D.C. meant?
I thought it meant like British Columbia. I was just confused.
It’s our nation’s capital! Have some patriotism.
I know, and I was just there too.
This is my favorite one. Did you think that Asia was in China?
What’s the truth? China is in Asia, right?
Yes, it is part of Asia.
I just thought China was its own thing, and not part of Asia. No, I didn’t know that Chinese people were Asian.
[Laughing] Ahhh. Now we’re getting somewhere. That’s priceless.
This article is going to make me seem like I’m some sort of racist.
I know. But I’ll have your back, you’re not a racist. You’re just confused.
Geography was not my best subject.
5. What is your favorite musical?
High School Musical. I love it.
Well, it started because my little brother, who was in eighth grade at the time, told me that he watched this new Disney movie and that it had a dance-along and all this stuff. I basically said, “Chris, you’re stupid.” But when I came home for the summer, I watched it once and it was pretty good.
And so what did you do when you discovered this movie was so good?
Well I’m sure you’ve heard, my brother and I sang a duet.
Was it filmed?
No, but the team came to my house one night before a meet, and my brother and I decided to perform for them. So we turned the movie on, we both had fake microphones (which were water bottles) …
And you sang?
And we sang.
Can you give me a little sneak peek here?
Just five seconds.
[Singing] Soooooaring. Flyyyying. There’s not a star in heaven.
There you go. Pretty good voice.
Actually everyone voted my brother as the better voice.
6. I’m thrilled to hear that someone shares my enthusiasm for ketchup because you love it, right?
Yes, I love ketchup. I eat it on everything.
So give me some examples of what you eat it on that most people would consider disgusting.
Me too, people make fun of me all the time, its bulls—-.
Grilled cheese. Macaroni and cheese.
Are you ready for this? [Shows Colleen notepad] Look at my first two items, eggs and mac and cheese. Everyone is always like, “Mac and cheese, are you serious?” They need to relax.
Yeah it’s so good. And if you have mixed vegetables and they kind of need some flavor, just add ketchup.
Yeah, why not? It’s delicious.
I eat it on chicken, pork, sausage, everything.
Steak too, my dad gets so mad after he prepares this great steak and I ask where the ketchup is.
I don’t know about that one. What about carrots?
I’ve never done that.
Yeah neither have I, I just wanted to see how much of a freak you are. That one’s even beyond us.
7. How did you get into gymnastics?
Well my mom put me in gymnastics class when I was four.
Was she a gymnast?
No, a baton twirler.
That’s pretty funny. So why did she want you to be one?
I just would always run around the house, and she got angry, I think, so she put me in a gymnastics class that was right by my house. And since then, I guess I just bloomed as a gymnast.
And she has continued the tradition of loving your athletic accomplishments?
Yeah she is definitely a gym mom.
She comes to all the meets?
Pretty much every one. She went to Seattle for Nationals last year, she’s coming this year too, even though I’m still injured.
Wearing a gym mom sweater?
Usually a sweatshirt that says “Cornell mom” or a “Big Red Gymnastics” T-shirt. She loves it.
8. Why do gymnasts wear such tight clothes?
Yeah I guess so.
Because it’s safer. If you’re wearing baggy clothes you can get caught and, for instance, if you’re on the bars wearing a T-shirt, and they came down, you could die.
Also it’s kind of a body image sport. The judges like to see your lines.
What the hell does that mean? Are you saying that the judges check you out?
[Laughing] Not exactly. Maybe if it is a guy judge. Sometimes guy judges give you higher scores if they like your …
Yeah, or your routine.
Since you’re a senior, what are your plans after college?
Yeah I just got accepted to the University of Florida in a masters program.
And that’s kind of a big deal, right?
It is, they only accept one person.
Congrats. And what are you going to do there?
It’s a one year internship where I’m going to work with all of the U. of Florida sports teams regarding nutrition assessment, diet critiques, counseling. And then the year after is a masters program in nutrition.
9. Have you ever gotten something checked out for cancer?
[Laughing] Well no. I went to the dermatologist once for this thing …
Because I had dark spots that looked like chocolate.
Interesting. And where were these spots?
On my hand; they were just three little dots. My mom wanted me to get them checked out, but she also told me that I probably spilled nail polish remover on it and sat out in the sun. My teammates said they looked like chocolate sauce.
You came into the office and what happened?
It was just nail polish.
How embarrassing was that?
Not really, she told me to let her know if it got worse and to put this cream on it.
And it was gone?
Yeah, I’m sure they see much more embarrassing stuff.
10. The last question is always the same, what is the hottest men’s team at Cornell?
I knew this was coming. I wouldn’t say there is one hottest team, I think there are different hot individuals on different teams.
I hope that’s not your answer.
It’s part of it. I know my teammates and my trainer would expect me to say men’s lacrosse.
And why’s that?
[Laughing] I don’t know why that is.
Absolutely no reason? I find that hard to believe.
Do you have a certain infatuation with any member of the team?
You just like their whole style?
Yeah, I like the sport.
So that’s your answer?
No, that’s what they were expecting, but I think I’m actually going to go with lightweight crew.
Wow. Really? Lightweight crew? You have exposure to those guys?
Yeah they work out downstairs on those little rowing machines.
Yeah and we have some really fun mixers with them.
Not during the season of course.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard crew before.
I figured I’d give them a shout out.