It’s hard not to wonder if 2004 Olympian Courtney Kupets is thinking about going for Beijing.
Kupets, the 2003 U.S. Champion and 2004 U.S. co-champ, kept a low profile in 2005, training for college but not competing as an elite or level 10, the way former Olympic hopefuls Allyse Ishino and Carly Janiga did before heading to Stanford.
Kupets’s freshman year at the University of Georgia was nothing short of dazzling. In addition to being the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in 2006, Kupets captured the all-around title and was also first on uneven bars and balance beam at the NCAA Championships.
She was no less impressive in 2006, defending her NCAA all-around title and winning the national championship on vault as well. Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan called her “the best gymnast I’ve ever coached, both mentally and physically.”
Only two years into her college career, Kupets has already racked up five NCAA titles. If she keeps this up, she’ll break former University of Kentucky Jenny Hansen’s NCAA title record. (Hansen, who competed for Kentucky, won eight NCAA titles from 1993 to 1995. In 2006, the NCAA honored Hansen as its most outstanding gymnast in 25 years of competition.)
Despite competing with a stress fracture in Athens in 2004, Kupets looked great then, and some argue she looks even better now. She’s still able to do almost everything she competed at the Olympics, and has even added new skills, like a toe-on Hindorff on bars and a gorgeous double layout dismount.
Courtney Kupets, 2007 Georgia vs. Arkansas, uneven bars:
Unlike Kupets, who’s remained mostly mum on the subject, Utah’s Ashley Postell has made noises about staging an elite comeback for Beijing. Postell, second to Kupets in the all-around at both the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Championships, was not in Athens in 2004, although given her 2003 performances she might have seemed like a lock for the team.
Some of Postell’s 2007 summer training videos, showing some beefed-up skills on vault and beam, were floated onto the internet, but did she not compete at the U.S. Championships.
According to Utah’s Deseret Morning News,
Senior-to-be Ashley Postell is still working on perfecting her international-style routines with an eye toward perhaps making the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but a rolled ankle slowed her down for about three weeks and probably kept her from attempting to qualify for the 2007 national championships. Her vault, beam and floor routines, said Marsden, had come along to the point that she might have tried for one of the qualifying meets until the injury. Her intention was always to take it slowly and see how far she got before attempting a meet, and the 2002 world beam champion is still in that mode but now won’t do any elite competitions until after the 2008 Ute season next spring, Marsden said.
Postell said in an interview last year that one of her goals is to “Go to the Olympics.” In a seperate interview with a Utah newspaper, she said that in order to make that happen she would need more difficult tumbling on floor and to “about double” her bar routine.