By Justin Silberman
Jordyn Wieber began her gymnastics career in 1999, at age 4. She became the world all-around champion in 2011 at the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, making her one of the favorites for gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
For Wieber, the Olympics were full of ups and downs. She finished fourth in all-around qualifying, missing a shot to contend for an individual gold medal because international rules permit only two gymnasts per country. Two days later, the DeWitt, Mich., native put that disappointment behind her and helped the United States win the goal medal in team competition.
PressBox intern Justin Silberman interviewed Wieber on his Internet sports talk radio show Aug. 23. She discussed her performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics, her participation in the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions and her dream of meeting singer Justin Bieber.
Justin Silberman: Now that you've had some time to come back from London and settle down a bit, how is your stress-fractured leg, and what is your status?
Jordyn Wieber: My stress fracture is feeling much better. I've been really able to rest it up the past couple of weeks, and it's getting healed really well.
JS: Let's go back to London now. You finish fourth for qualifying in the individual all-around, you're denied the opportunity to compete for an individual gold medal because the international rules only allow for the two gymnasts, with the two highest scores per country to compete for a medal. But just 48 hours later, you put that behind you, compose yourself by getting in the right state of mind and help guide your team to the all-around gold medal. What were those 48 hours like, and how did you compose yourself and get yourself in the right state of mind to come back and compete the way you did for your team?
JW: Well, after that little bit of disappointment and with the two-per-country rule being so tough, I just had the mentality turn it around, take a deep breath and had to realize that my team needed me. I still had an important job to do. I knew how much I wanted that gold medal, so I really had to turn it around and be there for my team. We all did so well in the team competition and coming out with that gold medal is just a dream come true.
JS: You, along with the other four in The Fab Five, and as I've heard you say before, The Fierce Five, have taken this nation by storm. What's it been like this past month, with all the media attention and requests?
JW: It's been very exciting. We got to do a lot of cool TV appearances and different media things. It's been a lot of fun, especially when we went to New York after London. I got to be with the other girls and do some cool shows and things like that, so it's been a lot of fun. These experiences are once in a lifetime, so we're just soaking it all up and taking advantage of all of them.
JS: Looking ahead in the near future, you have the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions, you're going to present an award at the MTV Video Music Awards and you start at UCLA in the fall of 2013. Which of those events are you looking forward to the most? Are you viewing them the same?
JW: I'm looking forward to all of them, especially the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions, just because it's so close and we leave for rehearsals on [Aug. 28]. I'm excited to see all the girls again, get that started again and go to 40 different cities around the U.S. The VMAs will be a lot of fun, too. I'm just excited for all of it.
JS: You threw out the first pitch at the [Aug. 22] Detroit Tigers game. I understand that was your first Tigers game. Beings that you are a Michigan native, how was that experience?
JW: It was a lot of fun. It was definitely a different experience. I'm not so used to throwing a baseball. I'm more used to doing back handsprings and things like that, but it was definitely a lot of fun and a cool experience. The whole crowd gave me a standing ovation, so that was pretty cool.
JS: Do you have any plans to compete in Rio de Janeiro in 2016?
JW: Rio is always in the back of my mind, but at this point I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'm just going to take everything as it comes and just focus on training. Then, [I'm] going to see how everything goes from there.
JS: Before I let you go, what's the latest with the [Justin] Bieber-Wieber fever?
JW: I haven't met Bieber yet, but he tweeted at me while we were at the Olympics. Maybe we'll get to meet him when we go to the VMAs. We'll see.
To listen to the interview, click here. The interview starts at about the seven-minute mark.
Posted Aug. 27, 2012