"The opportunity to do gymnastics one more year is a privilege for me, and I want to take advantage of it," Peszek said. "I love competing, I love performing, and I love my team. Walking away from nationals this weekend feeling healthier than I've ever felt leads me to believe that next season will be the best one yet."
"Sam really wanted to make sure her body could get through the season and that she could give herself fully, emotionally and physically," UCLA head coach Valorie Kondos Field affirmed. "She's excited to be able to get through the season and come out of nationals feeling good."
Peszek had a standout season in 2014, earning six All-America honors, winning the Pac-12 balance beam title and scoring a perfect 10 on uneven bars. She averaged 39.610 in the all-around and twice hit career-highs of 39.7, most recently at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, where she won the all-around, uneven bars and balance beam. She also scored career-bests on vault (9.95), bars (10.0) and beam (9.95) in 2014 and averaged over 9.9 on bars and beam during team competition. Peszek hit 34-for-34 routines on the year and led the team with 17 individual victories and 23 scores of 9.9 or higher.
As a freshman in 2011, Peszek won the NCAA balance beam title, becoming the first collegiate gymnast to perform a standing full on the balance beam. She led the Bruins in 2012 with 15 individual victories and had the championship-winning beam routine in the final rotation at the Pac-12 Championships.
While Peszek's athletic prowess will be a welcome addition to the 2015 squad, Kondos Field is equally enthusiastic about the return of her leadership qualities to a young squad.
"Sam has really taken a strong leadership stance going into spring training, and we are obviously thrilled that she has decided to take her fifth year," Kondos Field said. "I feel she's going to be as valuable in a leadership role as she will be on the competition floor."
A U.S. National Team member from 2004-2009, Peszek won an Olympic silver medal in 2008. She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2013 as a member of the 2007 gold medal-winning World Championships team.
"After receiving so much support from Bruin gymnastics fans in regards to coming back next year, I realized that not only will I have the team by my side but the rest of Bruin nation as well," Peszek said. "I am so excited for the 2015 season and continuing the journey one more year."