Valerie Velasco

Sport: Gymnastics

Year: Senior

Hometown: Fullerton, CA

High School: Rosary HS

How old were you when you first started doing gymnastics?

Name your favorite former UCLA gymnast and why:
Gigi Zosa because she was Canadian-Filipino and was an All-American and Olympian

What has been the highlight of your athletic career?
Hitting 3 of 3 routines for career-highs at Pac-10s in 1999

Where was the toughest place you ever competed?
Super Six Challenge at Florida this season because I was supposed to be the alternate on every event and ended up competing all-around.

Do you have any pre-meet superstitions?
I can't be too happy because I'll waste my energy and bring up my hopes too much.

Who were your favorite gymnasts growing up?
Tatiana Gutsu and Jaycie Phelps

What are your favorite sports other than your own?
Basketball and football

If you could change anything about your sport, what would you change?
Take out vault

If you could give advice to a young gymnast, what would it be?
Be persistent in practice. Working through your hard times is rewarding when you compete.

What is the one movie you must have in your movie collection?
Forrest Gump

What is the TV show you can't miss?
Cosby Show

If you could be a character on any TV show, who would it be?
Rudy Huxtable

What is your favorite cartoon? Cartoon character?
The Smurfs - Papa Smurf

What celebrity do you admire most?
Haley Joel Osment

What is your favorite type of music?

What is the last CD you bought?
Better Days by Joe

What is the most embarrassing CD in your collection?
Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer Greatest Hits

What is the most embarrassing movie you've ever paid to go see?
Baby-Sitter's Club (my friend made me watch it!)

What is your favorite place on campus?
Panda Express and Tropix

Why did you come to UCLA?
I was offered a walk-on position, and UCLA is a great academic and all-around school

What class at UCLA have you liked best?
History 190A - History of Southeast Asian Studies

What is your favorite book?
The Bible

Who do you admire most in life and why?
My parents because they came here with not much from the Philippines and have managed to get my sisters and me through college and support other family members.

If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be?
Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Aaliyah

If you could have superpowers, what would it be?
To fly, stop time and have world peace

If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
To have a very happy life, have lots of money and more wishes

If you could know the answer to one question, what would that question be?
Where is Osama bin Laden?

Tell us something about yourself that few people know:
I used to figure skate and play the piano when I was younger.

Do you have any nicknames?
DJ VJ, Ballerina, Wulerkitty

If you had one last meal, what would it be?
Fried chicken, French fries, Sinigang and ice cream

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Vanilla and strawberry sorbet together

Who are the most famous people you have met?
John Wooden, Kobe Bryant

If you could invite someone famous over to dinner, who would it be and what would you be eating?
Rob Schneider, and we'd be eating lumpia, pancit and strawberry bibingka

What would you never be caught dead wearing?
Hot pink shirt with shoulder ruffles

What is your worst fear?
Dying in pain

What is your worst habit?

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Being registered at Cal State Fullerton but going to UCLA at the last minute

What is the best present you ever received?
Ocean salt from the Philippines from my mother (she said it was good luck) and Marvin greeting me at the airport after nationals last year with a hand-made poster and flowers

What is your pet peeve?
Telling people to do things that they're already supposed to be doing

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Eating ice cream

What is your favorite thing to do outside of sports?
Listening and dancing to music, playing PlayStation2

What is your favorite color?
All shades of blue

What phrase or word do you use way too much?
"Weak sauce" or "um … hello"