Olympics gold medalist Jordyn Wieber was 10 years old the first time she came to Oklahoma.
She competed in her first Level 10 Nationals and placed in second.
On May 18, Wieber, now 17, will return to Oklahoma to be honored with the first Nadia Comaneci Sportsmanship Award by the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
The award is given to a current competitive or recently retired gymnast “who has demonstrated great sportsmanship or fair play.”
The Oklahoman caught up with Wieber to talk to her about life as a gymnast, the perks of being an Olympian and her second prom.
I became a gymnast when I was four years old. I've always been Jordyn the gymnast.
I still had to do the same amount of chores that my other two siblings had to do.
My older sister was a huge role model for me. She is eight years older than me and I always look up to her. She's a very hard worker. She actually just graduated medical school. Everything she does in her life, she puts 100 percent effort into it. I think that's really admirable.
I had to have a lot of strength to persevere after the disappointment of not making the all-around.
Going through all the competitions I did in my career, I learned to be able to compete under pressure, especially at Olympic trails.
You're always nervous no matter what. Over the years, I learned to kind of turn my nerves into excitement.
That was definitely one of the hardest parts of the Olympics, just knowing that all eyes are on you and you're not competing just for yourself and your team, but also for your country. Watching the American flag get raised, that was such an honor.
That was pretty much a once in a lifetime feeling. I don't think anything will ever feel as special as that.
My mom and dad have taught me so many things. They pushed me through all those hard days when I didn't feel like going to the gym. They just reminded me that I had a goal and if I wanted to make that ultimate goal of going to the Olympics. They also always reminded me to make sure I was always enjoying it.
When I was little, I always said “Oh, I want to go to the Olympics.” Every little gymnast said that. But it became more real once I became older and I qualified for elite when I was 11. That's kind of when it became a little more realistic and I knew that if I worked really, really hard and kept making the national team each year, I could possibly make the Olympics.
It makes me a better person just knowing there are so many little gymnasts and not just gymnasts but little athletes and little girls that look up to me.
I just went to prom. Throughout the busy schedule that I have for gymnastics, I try to stay as normal as possible and do as many normal teenage things as I could. Of course I had to miss a lot of football games. It's cool that everyone at my school treats me the same even though I've been to the Olympics.
Every experience is just incredible. Not many other 17-year-olds are getting to do these cool things like throw out the first pitch and travel all over the country. It just makes me feel really blessed and really appreciative that I have this life and I get to do the things that I get to do.
International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Ceremony
Class of 2013 honorees: Albert Azaryan (Armenia), Lyubov Burda (Russia), Gina Gogean (Romania) and Yuri Korolev (Russia).
Where: Petroleum Club
Tickets: For tickets to the ceremony, contact Lynn Landis at (405) 364-5344.