Q: Do you have a nickname?
Q: When and why did you first become interested in gymnastics?
“When I was 5, I was in a combination dance class that included tumbling. All I wanted to do was the cartwheels, so my mom put me in gymnastics.”
Q: Do you have any good/funny memories from when you first started taking gymnastics classes?
Q: When did you decide you wanted to compete?
“I decided I wanted to compete when I was about 6, when I was asked to be on the team.”
And, when did you want to compete on the elite level? What about competition appeals to you?
“I decided I wanted to compete at the elite level when I was about 8 when I was watching the 2004 Olympics. I’m a competitive person in general, so just the nature of competition appeals to me. I like meeting new people at competitions and getting to travel to new places, as well.”
Q: What is your training regimen? Was it a big switch when you shifted into the elite level?
“I train four to five hours a day, six days a week. I guess it was a big change in hours when I first made the switch to team. The training hours went up a lot. The drive also went from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, so that was a big change for my parents.”
Q: What is your favorite event?
Q: What is your favorite skill?
“Double Arabian on floor or Shaposhnikova on bars.”
Q: What music do you use for your floor routine?
Q: Who is your favorite gymnast or who is your “idol”?
Q: How have you grown as a gymnast during your career, both skill wise and mentally?
“With each level, my skills have progressed and my form has gotten better. I have learned how to prepare mentally with things like visualization and key words.”
Q: How has gymnastics helped you as a person?
“It has taught me leadership, dedication, and that hard work pays off.”
Q: If you had to select one life-lesson that gymnastics has taught you, what would it be?
“Enjoy the journey.”
Q: What are your biggest accomplishments or best memories in your career?
“Competing at the U.S. Championships four times. Being J.O. National 2013 floor champion. Qualifying for the Nastia Cup three times, and getting a scholarship to the University of Alabama.”
Q: Do you want to compete in collegiate gymnastics?
“Yes. I plan to compete for the University of Alabama next year.”
Q: What are your favorite subjects in school?
“History and science.”
Q: If you plan to go to college, do you know what you want to study there?
“Either pre-med or psychology.”
Q: What are your goals for the future?
“I want to qualify and compete at J.O. Nationals this year and then attend the University of Alabama in the fall and compete for them. After college, I want to become either a physical therapist or a doctor.”
Q: When you’re not in the gym, how do you enjoy spending your time? Do you have any hobbies or favorite activities?
“I like to play guitar and hang out with my friends and family.”
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What is your favorite movie?
“Probably ‘The Proposal.'”
Q: What is your favorite book?
“Anything by Mary Higgins Clark.”
Q: Who is your favorite music group/artist?
Q: Do you have any competition rituals? Lucky charms?
“I have a collection of key chains from every state that I have been to I have to take it with me to every competition.”
Q: What’s on your IPod right now? What type of music do you enjoy listening to? How about before a meet when you’re trying to get focused and pumped up?
“Mostly country and pop. To get pumped up, I usually listen to pop or hip hop.”
Q: If you had to pick 3 words to describe yourself as a gymnast, what are they?
“Competitive, strong, determined.”
Q: What 3 words describe you as a person, not the gymnast?
“Caring, good work ethic, creative.”
By Lauren Ely
For 16-year-old Mackenzie Brannan, bars are her favorite part of competing – even when they fall on top of her.
Last year, the weekend after placing first in the all-around at the Nadia Comaneci Invite, the Austin, Texas, native was set to compete at the 2012 WOGA Classic. While performing her routine on bars, the bolts broke away from the floor and collapsed on top of her.
“We’ve never had that happen before,” Brannan’s coach Barry Hyder said.
But with only a bruise to show from the incident, Brannan was far from done. She came in the next day to train and continued practicing at less than 100 percent until the day of competition, where she placed first in bars and first in the all-around again.
“She came in on Saturday night and beat everyone,” Hyder said. “She’s just an amazing competitor.”
Brannan, a junior in high school, who trains at Capital Gymnastics, is already committed to the University of Alabama to continue competing. She says the determination and focus it takes to be a gymnast have helped her with activities outside of the sport, like school.
While gymnastics plays a huge role in her life, it isn’t the only facet of her. Brannan has her mind made up to study biology to become a physical therapist after her career as a gymnast is over. She also has an artistic side, and when she isn’t at the gym, she enjoys painting and drawing.
By Kate Guerra
At only 14 years-old, Mackenzie Brannan already has lofty goals for her gymnastics career. She wants to work hard enough to earn a spot on the U.S. National Team, and has a list of college teams she would love to compete for when it comes time for her to go to college. She started gymnastics when she was five years old and joined Capital Gymnastics in Austin, Texas.
“My mom put me in a combination dance class,” Brannan said. “First there was tap class, and then ballet, and then five minutes of tumbling at the end. And that’s all I wanted to go for.”
Brannan qualified for the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup at the Pike’s Peak Cup. At the most recent Nadia Comaneci Invite, she won the all-around by two points, bringing home a total of three gold medals and a silver medal.
In 2010, she placed fourth on uneven bars at the Visa Championships. She points towards her determination and drive as her greatest assets in gymnastics, something that her coach, Barry Hyder, noted as well.
She loves crafts and drawing, and her favorite subject in school is geometry. When she is not training, she enjoys playing with her dogs at home and going out with her friends.