Inside Their World: Stanford Senior Ivana Hong

Ivana Hong has been making an impact on the Stanford team for many years, including a standout redshirt junior season when she earned First team All-American honors on beam and second team All-American honors on bars. She placed second on beam at NCAA Championships event finals last season—only the third gymnast in program history to to do. Now as she heads into her final season, we're taking a look inside her world and getting to know Hong a little better...

FloGymnastics: What do you love most about gymnastics?
Ivana Hong: What I love most about gymnastics is that it encompasses power, beauty and strength all into one package. 

Did you play any other sports growing up? 
I played tennis for a little bit growing up and would love to pick it up again post gymnastics.

Which athlete(s) (any sport) do you most respect and why?
I truly respect all the student-athletes here at Stanford because they are at the top of their game on the field as well as in the classroom. Everybody here is phenomenal at what they do and have a unique story. It is humbling to be among them and to together represent such a prestigious institution. 

What do you like to eat before a competition?
I donÂ’t have a specific meal or snack that I eat before a competition but I normally like to keep it pretty simple and plain like a sandwich or salad. 

What is your favorite thing to do in your free time to relax?
I love to bake and experiment with new recipes. They donÂ’t always turn out, but itÂ’s fun to switch up ingredients or add new ones in!

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a sports physical therapist in the future and would love to work with collegiate athletes and possibly professional athletes as well. 

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school would have anything to do with human behavior and psychology.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I canÂ’t answer this question Â… all ice cream flavors are my favorite.

How old were you when you started gymnastics and how did you get involved?
I was five when I first started gymnastics and it was because my mom wanted to have time to go run errands while I got in some physical activityÂ… also known as a form of daycare. She was initially told that I was too little and wouldnÂ’t be able to take the class unless it was a mommy-and-me class but she insisted they give it a shot and if I didnÂ’t listen she wouldnÂ’t bring me back. 

Do you have a history of gymnasts in your family?
There is no history of gymnasts in my family. IÂ’m the first person to do any collegiate sport in my entire family. To be honest, I would have never known or done gymnastics had my mom not dropped me off at our local gym several years ago. I never did any flips or cartwheels around the house nor did I have extra energy as a kid. 

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
IÂ’m a little bit of both. I definitely wasnÂ’t a morning person as a kid but as IÂ’ve gotten older IÂ’ve grown to love the calmness of mornings. I enjoy mornings (nothing before 6 a.m. though Â… thatÂ’s pushing it for me) and being out before the hustle of the day begins. 

What is your perfect pizza?
Ham and pineapple pizza

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
I really want to go to Vietnam.

Where would you prefer to live- beach, city, or country?
IÂ’d prefer to live near a beach although it would mostly be because of the scenery and sunsets rather than to actually go into the ocean as I am not the strongest swimmer. 

What is one, single food that you would never give up?
I love baked goods but IÂ’d probably have a harder time giving up chips and salsa or cheese and crackers (not a single food technically, but itÂ’s the combos that I like!)

Can you play any musical instruments?
No, I canÂ’t play any musical instruments besides maybe the air guitar and drums. 

Favorite season of the year - why?
Favorite season of the year is definitely winter because of the holidays. 

WhatÂ’s one food you just canÂ’t stand?
I canÂ’t stand olives. 

Follow Hong on Twitter here and Instagram here (@IvanaHong)

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