The Road To NCAAs: AJ Jackson, Sooners Aim To Stay Within Themselves

AJ Jackson and the Oklahoma Sooners enter this year's Super Six with a little more pressure than previous seasons. The Sooners are the defending national champions and Jackson looks to help her team secure its second consecutive title.

The junior is dynamic on floor exercise and vault where she brings power and can bring in the big scores that Oklahoma will need. She has not posted a score below a 9.875 on vault in 14 meets this season. Ten times she has scored a 9.900 or better for her Yurchenko one and a half.

Jackson's floor routine is a crowd favorite. While she can only mime the chalk blowing in her routine now, she typically has all of her teammates and even some of the Oklahoma fans in the stands doing the chalk blowing at the start of her routine.

Oklahoma aims to defend its national title at Saturday's Super Six against LSU, Florida, Alabama, UCLA and Utah. Last year, the Sooners came out on top by 0.225.

FloGymnastics: What is your favorite event to perform on and why?
AJ Jackson: I love floor because you get to show your personality and because KJ [Kindler] does such a good job with choreography and it's just really fun to show it off.

What is your favorite skill to perform on any event?
My favorite skill is my full-out on floor. It just feels like I'm flying through the air.

What is the most challenging skill that you've learned and what made it challenging for you?
Actually, my full-in on floor is probably one of the most challenging skills I had to learn because it just takes a lot of patience and a lot of time to understand the basics of the skill to perform it well.

What was the biggest thing that you took away from regionals that you'll apply to nationals?
My biggest thing is that we worked really well as a team and we need to continue pushing like that and just keep growing as a team in general.

Going in as the defending champions this year, is there a little bit of added pressure and how are you all handling that?
There is a little bit of pressure but we just try to stay within ourselves and focus on what we need to do to perform at our absolute best.

How does the adversity that your team faces in the regular season help you prepare for the postseason?
It helps us realize what we need to work on, what little minor details that have to be fixed and just overall as a team how we support each other and how we go about doing that.

How do you bounce back from a fall?
We just all have each other's back. We know that if we fall, our team will have our back and support us no matter what. Everybody makes mistakes and you're not always going to be perfect so you have to keep that mindset?

Is there any added pressure to hit your routine if there is a fall in front of you and if so, how do you handle that?
Usually I don't really know what happens to the people in front of me. I try to stay within myself and do what I know how to do. Even if I do there's a fall ahead of me, I know that I can trust my training and go out there and do what I know how to do.

How would you describe yourself in three words?
Kind of goofy, a little shy and very protective of those I care about.

What are you most looking forward to about competing next week at nationals?
I'm really looking forward to being able to compete in front of my family and my friends and just being able to compete for my team on this big of a stage.

U.S. Wins Team Golds At 2018 Pan American Gymnastics Championships

The U.S. men and U.S. women both won team gold medals at the 2018 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru.

McCallum, Thomas Go One-Two AA At 2018 Pan Am Championships

Press release via USA Gymnastics.

After Placing 6th In US Champs All-Around, Jade Carey Vies For Worlds Spot

Jade Carey - Floor, USA - Official Podium Training - 2017 World Championships

Between the return of Simone Biles — the greatest gymnast of all time — and the tumult within USA Gymnastics, the last nine months have been an absolute roller coaster. But that's not going to keep us from constantly recognizing the hard work and brilliant gymnastics of these athletes.

2018 U.S. Championships Lovely Leo Winners

NCAA Gymnastics 2019 Season Hype: Trinity Thomas Is Coming To Gainesville

We’re continuing our series on the new additions to NCAA gymnastics team rosters, highlighting the Florida Gators today. The Gators had a couple of important contributors graduate last year, including Kennedy Baker, Alex McMurtry, and Rachel Slocum. How they replace these losses will determine how far they can go this year in NCAA competition.

Elevate The Stage: JO To NCAA Gymnasts

Elevate the Stage is a podium-style gymnastics competition for NCAA and J.O. teams, and FloGymnastics is excited to again bring you live coverage of the meets in the 2019 season.

Lovely Leos: 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships Day 2

We've got a winner from day 1, and now it's time to vote for Day 2's loveliest leo from the 2018 U.S. Championships!

University Of Illinois At Chicago To Cut NCAA Gymnastics Teams

The University of Illinois at Chicago men's and women's gymnastics teams were informed on August 31 that the 2018-2019 competition season would be the final year for both teams. 

NCAA Gymnastics 2019 Season Hype: Olivia Trautman Leads The New Sooners

School is back in session, which means that your favorite NCAA gymnastics teams are also back in action with team retreats, strategy sessions, and hardcore conditioning. Though not every 2018-19 roster has been released yet, several are up online, allowing fans to have a look at the newcomers and how they might fit into the team. 

Letter To Membership From USA Gymnastics Board Chair Karen Golz

Below is a letter from USA Gymnastics board chair Karen Golz about Kerry Perry resigning as CEO and president of USA Gymnastics, via USAGym.

Dear USA Gymnastics Community:I am writing to tell you that USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry informed our Board of Directors last night that she will resign effective immediately. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances. As you know, USA Gymnastics has been in the midst of a difficult and painful transition to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remain at the heart of our mission. While much as been accomplished over the past several months to stabilize the organization, we still face tremendous challenges as we all work to achieve fundamental changes to move our sport forward. We look forward to bringing in new leadership to build on the progress to date, and the board will immediately begin the search for an interim CEO. In the meantime, it has established a management committee to provide organizational oversight to maintain continuity in the day-to-day operations until an interim CEO is named. Additionally, the board is in the process of forming a search committee made up of board members, as well as athletes and others from the gymnastics and NGB community, to find our next permanent leader. Board member and Olympian Brent Lang, president and CEO of Vocera, will chair the committee. We will keep you informed as we work through our urgent leadership issues. I want to assure you that this board is determined to take the necessary steps to support a safe and competitive environment where every athlete can grow, learn life lessons, have fun and succeed. We know the last few years have been very difficult for everyone involved with USA Gymnastics, and we thank you for your patience and support through these challenging days. The athletes, parents, coaches, judges, volunteers, gym owners and USA Gymnastics staff are the heart and soul of USA Gymnastics, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our athletes and everyone involved with our great sport and movement achieve their fullest potential. Sincerely,Karen GolzChair, Board of DirectorsUSA Gymnastics