2010 U.S. all-around and world team silver medalist Mattie Larson told IG that her designation as one of TheGrio's "100 History Makers in the Making" for 2011 has given her extra motivation as she heads into her new competitive season.
"It definitely boosted my confidence," said Larson of the recognition by the NBC News-owned site TheGrio.com, which announced its list of 100 African-American designees as part of February's Black History Month. "I can now tell at this point in my life that I was meant to be a gymnast, no matter what the outcome is any more."
Larson, who trains at All Olympia Gymnastics Center in Los Angeles, said the honor has inspired her as she prepares for the next U.S. national team training camp, to be held in Houston in March. She placed second all-around and first on floor exercise at the Visa (U.S.) Championships last summer, but made mistakes on floor exercise in qualifications and the team final at the world championships in Rotterdam in October.
"Gymnastics is what I want to do, and I'm not going to give up," said Larson, who was on hand at this weekend's Lights Camera Action Invitational that her club hosted at the Los Angeles Convention Center. "I'm going to give 100 percent. These awards and the accolades I get from it make me feel so much better about doing what I was meant to do."
Larson said she was also pleased that her athletic achievements have been recognized on a larger scale.
"It's my first award outside the gymnastics world, so I finally felt that my gymnastics was reaching other places," she said. "It's great to know that, because gymnastics isn't one of the most well-known sports, other than at the Olympics."
Larson said her own blend of ethnicities makes her considerate of all races.
"My mom is African-American and Native American, and my dad is mostly Swedish, so I'm one-third Swedish, and then mostly African-American and a little Native American," Larson told IG. "But I'm so open to races. I'm the least sensitive person about race ever, because I'm a mix of everything."
Read a revealing interview with Larson, in which she recounts her problems at the 2010 World Championships and important decisions she has made since, in the March 2011 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe or purchase copies of the issue, click here.
External Link: TheGrio's 100: Mattie Larson