Kai Rivers is coming off a remarkable level 10 season in which she won all-around titles at both the Nastia Liukin Cup and the J.O. National Championships. At J.O., she scored a 38.525 all-around, along with a 9.875 on vault and a 9.7 on bars to win three titles.
Rivers went into the J.O. Nationals hoping to redeem herself from a fall on beam last year, which held her back from repeating as the all-around champion after winning in 2015. She started on beam, and she was first up on the event in the opening session. The pressure was on. And she nailed it.
Rivers hit all four of her routines and closed out the meet with her best bar routine of the entire season.
Now, THAT is a stick!
Video via Region 5 Insider
We caught up with Rivers to hear about her impressive finish to a great season:
FloGymnastics: What was your favorite moment from the meet?Rivers: Right before beam -- my first event -- my coach, Kathryn, gave me a pep talk that was really special.
Did anything surprise you about the meet or this year?It surprised me how big everyones's skills are. You have to keep improving in order to keep winning.
What was the first thing your coach said to you when they found out you won?"Congrats!" with a really big hug.
What did it feel like when they called your name as national champion?It felt rewarding. I was really happy. It feels good to be recognized for all of my hard work.
What are your future goals for gymnastics?I verbally committed to LSU last year, and I am really excited. I want to help my college team in any way I can to hopefully win some titles and have fun doing it. Geaux Tigers!
What are your plans for summer/fall?Keep upgrading. Keep working hard. Keep getting stronger.
What is the hardest thing about being in this sport?Definitely the amount of hours of practice.
If you had to switch to a different sport right now, which would you choose?Track.
Which athletes (any sport) do you most respect and why?Swimmers because they have to train year round and wake up really early.
What do you like to eat before a competition?It depends. Pasta at night before a morning competition. If it's a mid-day competition, then a a light breakfast with fruit and toast with peanut butter.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?Somalia. Because I'd like to learn about other cultures.
What's your weirdest "quirk?"I like to wear tube socks on the outside of my leggings.
What is your favorite movie?"The Blindside."
Name one person who has had a huge impact on your involvement in gymnastics.My mom because she drives me everywhere. She is there when I win and when I lose.
RESULTS: 2017 J.O. Nationals
WATCH: Top Routines From 2017 J.O. Nationals, Graber Scores 10.0 On Vault
Social Media Roundup: Glitter, Glam, & Gold At J.O. Nationals
Qualifiers: 2017 J.O. National Team