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Lee Finding Her Rhythm in Recent Comeback
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Canadian veteran gymnast Christine (Peng-Peng) Lee told IG that she is pacing herself in her recent return to competition for UCLA after a pre-Olympic knee injury kept her out of competition for two-and-a-half years.


Lee on beam for UCLA in 2015

"I’m not really putting pressure on myself to be perfect," said Lee following Monday’s meet against the University of Arizona at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. "There’s obviously a lot of things I can improve upon, and I think just trying to get back into the rhythm is the expectation I’m going for."

Lee, who was named Gymnastics Canada's International Athlete of the Year in women’s gymnastics for 2011-2012, was one of Canada’s top prospects for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She finished 19th all-around at the 2011 world championships in Tokyo, and led Canada to a Games-winning team berth at the Olympic test event in London in January 2012.

In training at the Canadian championships in May 2012, Lee tore her left ACL. She served as honorary captain of the Canadian women’s gymnastics team at the London Olympics that summer, after which she enrolled at UCLA.

Lee missed the 2012-13 NCAA season while rehabilitating from the injury, and missed the 2013-14 season after she underwent revision ACL surgery in November 2013.

Thus far this season, Lee has competed on vault, uneven bars and balance beam.

"These routines are about half of what I was doing before, so I try to think of it as they are easy routines," said Lee, who is majoring in sociology and minoring in accounting. "My endurance and physical shape are there. I just need to go out and do it, just like I used to."

Lee performed solidly at UCLA’s first meet of the season, held January 12 at Oregon State University, but suffered major breaks on uneven bars on Monday. She is confident that she will regain consistency as the season progresses.


Lee on beam for UCLA in 2015

"I think I let the nerves get to me a bit," said Lee of Monday’s mistakes. "It’s a lot different being at home. It feels very anxious and very exciting, and I can do very well when I’m calm. I was so excited to compete in Pauley, and I need to learn how to get into my zone and compete at that level again."

Lee said she is preparing to return to all-around competition once she has put in more training on floor exercise.

"Right now it’s just keeping my knee healthy and saving up for the rest of the season," she said. "I haven’t done any hard landings on floor yet, and before I go out in a competition I’m going to do the hard landings first. It’s just to make sure my knee is protected. It’s not any hazard right now. My knee is very strong. It’s just getting the mental game there again."

Although Lee is focused on her UCLA season, she is not ruling out future international competitions including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I have considered it," she told IG. "I would love to go to 2016. Right now I’m focusing on the season, but after the season, it would be great to do another world championships or go to Rio. That’s definitely a long-term goal of mine, and I’ve kept it in the back of my head."

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of Canadian gymnastics includes:
"Gotta Dance!" – Sandra Botnen/Sasha Ivanochko profile (December 2004)
"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Canadian Promise" - Ellie Black chat (July/August 2014)
"Canadian Diversity" - Ellie Black profile (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Veteran Presence" – Nathan Gafuik interview (July/August 2010)
Madeline Gardiner, Anysia Unick and Victoria Moors cover photo (March 2011)
"Candid Canadians" - Madeline Gardiner interview (September 2011)
"A Gymnastics Jet-Setter" – Jordan Harvie (May 2004)
"All in a Day's Work" - Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2007)
"Catching up with... Larissa Lowing Libby" (August/September 2004)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
"A Passion for Performing" - Christine Peng-Peng Lee profile (June 2005)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Canadian Standout" – Gael Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Pride for Family and Canada" – Charlotte Mackie profile (November 2006)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
"10 Questions with Carol-Angela Orchard" (May 2011)
Jackson Payne interview (September 2011)
"Pegg Much More Motivated" – Dominique Pegg profile (March 2010)
"Plante in Bloom" – Amélie Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" – Heather Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Enriched" - Kate Richardson profile (May 2001)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Uneven Parallels" – Kate Richardson/Yvonne Tousek profile (March 2004)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Shooting Star" – Brittany Rogers profile (July/August 2007)
"Savona Surges into Recovery" – Jessica Savona short profile (October 2011)
"Work in Progress" – Sydney Sawa profile (September 2009)
"Holding Pattern" – Richelle Simpson interview (April 2004)
Richelle Simpson cover photo (January 2004)
Richelle Simpson center poster (June/July 2003)
"Canadian Diversity" - Hugh Smith profile (July/August 2013)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
Jennifer Wood update (June/July 2004)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Veteran Presence" - Kristina Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Robert Watson profile (July/August 2014)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)

 

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