Ask The Bruins Chat Wrap: Yvonne Tousek

April 2, 2004

Q: What kind of motivation is having the finals at Pauley Pavilion? (Mcwhinnie, Los Angeles)
A: Well, I'm going to put a little plug in here since we really want to fill Pauley Pavilion. :) The NCAA nationals are going to be held in Pauley Pavilion April 15-17, and we're going to be going for our fifth national title. It would be the most amazing experience to have Pauley Pavilion filled for a gymnastics meet and have a huge contingent rooting for the Bruins. Our team is so excited and has been all year. We are definitely still going to the meet with our motto of "calm confidence", but we definitely hope to be feeding off some great energy and feeling the magic of Pauley. This weekend, we're at Regionals, looking to take care of business and competing to qualify for Nationals.

Q: Hey Yvonne! You've had a fantastic collegiate career. How difficult was it for you to transition to club gymnastics in Canada to collegiate gymnastics in the US? Are you trying for a third Olympics? (Alyssa, So Cal)
A: Thank you! At first it was a little difficult for me to make the transition especially in training. In college it's much more up to us as individuals to know what we need personally to compete at our best and to be healthy. So i think there's a lot more responsibility on us as individuals to be mature and open in determining how we tackle our gymnastics training. That was hard for me because I grew up in a training atmosphere where I depended more on other people's instructions or training programs that they had set out for me. The one thing that was really easy to get used to was training with 18 other girls my age on a really high-energy team because I was used to training a lot of the time either by myself or with a few other girls my age. A third Olympics is not in my plan. There's a great crop of young girls waiting and trying their hearts out to make their Olympic dream come true. My goal was always to make an Olympic Games, and I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to make two. I also had a chance to compete a lot internationally, and I feel really fulfilled with my elite gymnastics career. Now, I'm looking at helping other athletes enjoy, experience and be able to take as much from the sport as I did.

Q: Congrats on your AWESOME career at UCLA! (not to forget the Canadian National Team).What are some of your future plans? Do you plan on doing anything gymnastics related? I imagine whatever you choose to do, you will be very successful. (Francesca, Redlands, CA)
A: Thank you, Francesca. I'm definitely what you would call a gymnastics fanatic. I think it's in my blood. I definitely want to keep doing something gymnastics related. I absolutely love coaching and would like to keep coaching in some capacity. I was also thinking of maybe judging or being involved in helping with managing a team or something along those lines. I was even thinking of somewhere along the line doing stunt work if that opportunity came up.

Q: Yvonne - congrats on a great career! You'll be missed next year. In the spirit of the season, who's your favorite hockey team? :) (Jake, Colorado)
A: Thank you, Jake! I've always been a huge hockey fan, and since my brother and dad are huge Toronto Maple Leafs fans, I have to stick with the hometown area and root for the Leafs. They're doing pretty good this year too, so that makes it easier.

Q: Who are your favorite gymnasts (NCAA or elite) to watch in terms of style? (Bill, Los Angeles)
A: Some that stand out in my mind are Svetlana Khorkina because her gymnastics is just different, innovative and artistic. Another that stands out is Sylvia Mitova from Bulgaria. She always had really original floor routines and performed her floor routine as if it were a story.

Q: Hi Yvonne! You are such a beautiful gymnast to watch and one of my all time favorites. Good luck in the post season! Now that you've been at UCLA for so long, what are your favorite things to do in LA? (Emma, St. Louis)
A: Thank you for the compliments. First of all, I just love hanging out with my team. We get really excited to go see movie premieres and things that are happening in Westwood because they happen there often. We get a little star-struck when we see famous people in the area. I love to go dancing when I can find the time, and the shopping in LA is of course really great. I also go to the beach whenever I get the chance.

Q: I am a 5 year old gymnast on Pre-Team at Champion Gymnastics in Pasadena. My mom records all of your meets on television so I can watch them. What age did you start gymnastics and since you're a senior, where will you compete next year? If you ever coach gymnastics, can you teach me? Thank you. (Raine, La Canada, CA)
A: Hi, Raine. You're adorable! I grew up watching video tape after video tape of gymnastics. I think I have 300 tapes at home in Canada, if not more. So enjoy picking up some pointers and keep watching the beautiful sport. I started gymnastics when I was four because I was a crazy kid. Since I'm a senior, that means after this year I won't be competing any more. I would love to teach you gymnastics someday. Hopefully our paths will cross in the future. :)

Q: Congratulations on a magnificent college career! Could you take a few minutes to describe one or two gymnastics moments that are special to you? (OPAL, Astoria, OR)
A: Thank you, Opal! The feeling of marching out at my first Olympic Games in 1996 because I had dreamt of going to the Olympics since I was 5 or 6 years old, and a lot of dreaming, hard work and determination went into being there at that moment. To see it come together and seeing my dream realized was really special to me. At UCLA, my most memorable moment was our team's final rotation on beam at NCAA championships my freshman year. It was just the most intense team-oriented moment that I've experienced in college to this point. Everyone came together and rose to the occasion and performed the way they needed to perform to clinch the national title

Q: How difficult is it to be away from your family while you attend UCLA? (April, Los Angeles)
A: It is hard but I've always been a really independent person. I love new experiences, traveling and trying new things. It has been such a positive experience that it's made it a lot easier to be so far from home. When I am home at Christmas or in the summertime, though, I do realize how much I miss my family when I'm out of my daily college routine.

Q: What is your favorite event? (Maggie, Los Angeles)
A: I like bars and floor. I really love the feeling of swinging and flying on bars, and floor is just really fun to perform and let loose a little bit

Q: Your FX, BB, and UB routines are so original, elegant, and clean; and you are such a performer. Will you miss being in the spotlight? (William, Irvine, CA)
A: Thank you for the compliments. I'm definitely going to miss the excitement and challenges of competition, but I don't really look at it as being in the spotlight rather than being a part of a really strong and special team as a UCLA Bruin.

Q: How does it feel to be able to compete with your sister after so many years of not training together? (Jessica, Minnesota)
A: First of all, I'm just excited I get a chance to see her during the year. Since we're both at college now, I probably see her even less than when she was at home training. I love when I have the chance to compete against her because I love to watch her perform even though we're both focused on our own teams and our own performances. I just want her to enjoy her college experience as much as I have.

Q: Hey Yvonne! Aside from gymnastics, what is your favorite part about being a Bruin? Also, if there was one thing you could change about gymnastics, what would it be and why? (Tiffany, Los Angeles)
A: First of all, it's amazing being a part of something that's so great and having such history. I love the fact that even though I'm in such a big school, I am a part of many different families. Being so far from home, it's really nice to be part of a close-knit team and everyone associated with it, as well as the rest of the athletics community. If I could change one thing about gymnastics, I would try to leave more room for artistry and encourage it. Some of my ideas would be making beam routines longer so gymnasts could have more time to dance and could still do the great tricks that attract a lot of audience attention. On floor, I would add an artistic expression component to the scoring because gymnastics is a beautiful sport, and it would really come through if they brought back a lot of the artistry there used to be.

Q: Hey Yvonne, Which one of your floor routines has been your favorite to perform? I love them all, it's so hard to choose! (Jessie, Boston)
A: Thanks, Jessie. In elite gymnastics, my favorite routine was my first one that I really had a chance to perform internationally. It was composed by Antonia Markova, and it was to the music "Havana Club". I really loved performing this routine because I got a great audience reaction to it. It was high-energy and something really different at the time. I think it was one of the things that helped me stand out a little bit when I was trying to get into the international gymnastics scene. In college, my favorite routine has been the one I'm doing currently. It's really fun for me, and I love being able to play up to the audience and the judges a little bit. I feel like this year when I step onto the floor I'm trying to take on a character and use that to help me perform to the crowd.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Saturday, Apr 02
vs. NCAA Regionals
Salt Lake City, UT
2nd, 196,375
Friday, Apr 15
vs. NCAA Team Semifinals
Fort Worth, TX
3rd, 196.700
Saturday, Apr 16
vs. NCAA Super Six
Fort Worth, TX
5th, 196.825