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Larson Enjoys 'New Look on Gymnastics' as Student-Athlete
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Preparing for the winter academic quarter that begins Monday, 2010 world championships team and U.S. all-around silver medalist Mattie Larson told IG on Sunday that she is enjoying the latest phase of her gymnastics career as a UCLA student-athlete.

"At first, I was tired a lot of the time because I use my downtime for studying, but I kind of adjusted really well since I love being social," said Larson after UCLA's first meet of the season, against the University of Utah at John Wooden Center on the UCLA campus on Sunday. "I like the team aspect of gymnastics, so it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be."

Mattie Larson performs on balance beam in her first competition as a UCLA Bruin.

Prior to enrolling at UCLA last year, Larson trained under coaches Galina Marinova and Artur Akopyan at All Olympia Gymnastics Center in her hometown of Los Angeles. She placed first on floor exercise and second all-around at the 2010 Visa (U.S.) Championships, and was a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam.

Larson said she is fit and healthy, and plans to add skills she competed during her international career to her collegiate routines.

"As of now, knock on wood, I don't have any lingering injury that is keeping me from training to my full potential," she said. "I definitely want to add some stuff to my routines, but right now it's about quality. All these skills I want to add, I've already competed before, so it's not like I have to learn anything new. There are no bad turns to waste. I don't need to waste my time on sloppy turns or bad turns. It's about quality – get in, get out, and save my body."

Larson said she was proud of former AOGC teammate McKayla Maroney's gold medal-winning performance on vault at the 2011 Worlds, held last October in Tokyo.

"She did amazing," Larson said of Maroney. "I keep in touch with her. She's an amazing gymnast, and I'm so happy for her and for AOGC."

Larson, who earned honor-roll status for fall quarter, has registered for classes in communication, films and screenwriting for winter quarter. She is on the waiting list for both of her choices for a fourth class, archaeology and political science.

Not on Larson's schedule is contending for a spot on the U.S. team for the London Olympic Games that will take place this summer.

"As of now, no," she told IG. "I'm really liking where I am now. I love college and I love classes. I love this (collegiate) gymnastics. It's such a different world of gymnastics. I'm really liking this new look on gymnastics."

Mattie Larson is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:

March 2011: "Rebounding" (Larson interview)
January/February 2011: 2010 World Championships special issue
September 2010: 2010 U.S. Championships coverage
July/August 2009: "All for One" (All Olympia profile)
November 2005: "Meet a Real Show-stopper!" (Larson profile)

To order back issues, click here.

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