After watching the 1976 Summer Olympics, I decided I wanted to be a gymnast. The only problem was there was nowhere to take lessons in our small town in upstate New York. I was nine years old and wanted to be just like Nadia Comaneci, the top gymnast from Romania who won most of the gold medals that year. In my imagination, I pictured myself on stage being handed a bouquet of flowers as someone placed the gold medal around my neck. I calculated the year would be 1984 when this happened.
I begged my mother to find somewhere I could take lessons and after asking around she found a place that taught acrobatics which wasn’t the same thing but at least it was something. My instructor was the only dance teacher in our small town. She taught tap, jazz, ballet, modern dance as well as acrobatics and was happy to add me to a group of girls my age to teach us moves and a routine we would display for our parents and friends at an end of the year recital.