Local gymnast is about to retire from sport she lovesBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Nearly 12 years old and already headed for retirement, Kristen Hoffman is set to leave a sport that she has loved for over half her life.
At an age when most kids are still playing with friends and skipping rope, Kristen has been in a sport that few girls her age master, especially in the U.S.
Coming off an incredible performance and improvement over last year’s Junior Olympics, her mother, Amy Hoffman says she has done very well.
“Kristen was ranked 39 last year and she was twelfth overall this year,” her mother said.
Kristen competes in rhythmic gymnastics which combines ballet’s graceful movements with creative dance moves.
While doing these moves the gymnast balances and uses ribbons, balls, hoops, and clubs as an extension of their body tumbling to choreographed moves set to music.
Amy says that there are only about 1200 rhythmic gymnasts in the states, and most of the world champions come from Bulgaria and Russia.
Kristen says that being in rhythmic gymnastics has taught her discipline and has helped her in school.
“It allows me to be focused,” she said.
Her mother says that academics is a high priority in their household.
“She gets straight A’s, but she did get one B this last time,” Amy said, “and she also made it on the honor role again.”
When it comes to sacrifices, her mother says she knows there are times when you miss being with friends.
“She puts in 20 hours a week for practice,” Amy said.
However, her daughter didn’t seem to mind having the pleasure of traveling and meeting many new friends at competitions.
Recently, the Hoffman’s hosted several female gymnasts from Japan, opening up a whole new world for her daughter to learn about other cultures.
Kristen’s untimely retirement is due to the fact that her mentor and coach, “coach Melanie” is retiring herself.
Kristen says that she’ll be doing ballet and hopes to find a dance and ballet school that can accommodate her skills and looks forward to a new challenge.