1. Name, Age, Hometown
Nicoletta Koulos, 14, Long Beach, Calif.
2. Do you have a nickname?
“Nico” or “Neeks.”
3. When and why did you first become interested in gymnastics?
I became interested in gymnastics at the age of four when I celebrated my best friend’s birthday party at a local gym. The instructor pulled my mom aside and told her I was flexible and focused and I should be in gymnastics, especially since there was a “half off” special for the first month if she signed me up that day. My mom thought it was a gimmick, but did it anyway. I haven’t stopped since (then).
4. Do you have any good/funny memories from when you first started taking gymnastics classes?
I used to wear Care Bear print undies in kindergarten that peeked out the bottom of my leotard. I was so embarrassed when I realized none of the big girls wore underwear.
5. When did you decide you wanted to compete? And, when did you want to compete on the elite level? What about competition appeals to you?
I took recreation classes at a young age, which eventually led to competing level four at age six. I love learning new skills and hitting them at meets. It makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.
6. What is your training regimen? Was that a big change when you made the switch to competitive gymnastics?
I currently train six days, 23 hours a week.
7. What is your favorite event?
I like all the events, but bars and vault are fun because I feel like I’m flying.
8. Who is your favorite gymnast or who is your “idol”?
My favorite gymnast is Sam Mikulak. He grew up at my former gym and he always fascinated me with his skills, hard work, sweet personality, passion and, of course, he’s super cute.
9. How have you grown as a gymnast during your career, both skill wise and mentally?
I have learned to trust my training. Therefore, I believe in myself more and I feel more confident in my skills and ability.
10. How has gymnastics helped you as a person?
Gymnastics has taught me how to manage my time between school work, volunteering at charity events, and Greek folk dancing. It also taught me patience and to pay attention to details.
11. If you had to select one life-lesson that gymnastics has taught you, what would it be?
With a good attitude and perseverance, anything is possible.
12. What are your biggest accomplishments or best memories in your career?
Level 9 State champion at age 10, Regional floor champion as a second-year level 10 at age 12, and qualifying for the Nastia Liukin Cup with a 38.300 all-around score (my highest ever). Also, I qualified for JO Nationals as an alternate competing for Region Two in 2013.
13. What grade are you in school, and where do you go to school?
I’m in the 8th grade at Oak Middle School in Los Alamitos, Calif.
14. Do you want to compete in collegiate gymnastics?
Yes, more than anything.
15. What are your favorite subjects, etc.?
Math and English.
16. If you plan to go to college, do you know what you want to study there?
I hope to pursue a career in nutrition or sports psychology.
17. What are your goals for the future, both as an athlete and after you are finished competing?
My goals are to stay healthy and get a scholarship to a Division-I college. After that, pursue my career.
18. When you’re not in the gym, how do you enjoy spending your time? Do you have any hobbies or favorite activities? Charities?
I enjoy Greek folk dancing with all of my church friends and competing annually. As well as spending time with my four siblings and parents watching “chick flicks,” eating sushi or sorbet.
19. What is your favorite food?
Steak and crab legs (my parents tease me and say I’m an expensive date).
20. What is your favorite movie?
21. What is your favorite book?
“Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch
22. What is your favorite music group?
Taylor Swift and Pink.
23. Are any of your family members current or former athletes? Which sports?
My brother, Harry, played baseball for Yale and is a member of the Greek National Baseball Team. My sister, Penelope, is on the University of Michigan dance team. My cousin, Toni Kokenis, played basketball for Stanford. My aunt, Deane Koulos, competed in gymnastics for UCLA. My dad played baseball and volleyball at Cal Poly Pomona.
24. Do you have any competition rituals? Lucky charms?
My dad makes me his famous heart-shaped waffles, along with two over-easy eggs for breakfast before competitions. As for luck, I keep a small icon in my gym bag to keep me safe.
25. What’s on your IPod right now? What type of music do enjoy listening to? How about before a meet when you’re trying to get focused and pumped up?
“Best Day of My Life” and “Geronimo” are the two songs I love to sing with my mom on meet days.
26. If you had to pick 3 words to describe yourself as a gymnast, what are they?
Graceful, determined and unique.
27. What 3 words describe you as a person, not the gymnast?
Kind-hearted, true friend and outgoing.