Wednesday, 13 February 2019 19:00

Saratoga Gymnast Flips Into First

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga High School’s varsity gymnast Sophia Damiano took home 1st place her first time competing in all four events since recovering from a sprained ankle.

In the middle of the Blue Streaks’ exciting season, Damiano took a tumble, off the mat, which kept her from competing in all four events for three weeks.

As she was hurrying down the end of the driveway to make it to school on time, she slipped on the ice coming down on her ankle.

“I heard it pop. I realized (her ankle was sprained) right then and there,” said Damiano. “It was instant pain.”

Upon having x-rays to ensure that it was nothing more than a sprain, the doctors pointed out that she had broken her ankle about a month prior. Damiano had persevered through that undetected ankle break but was now limited in competing.

The all-around contains all four of the major girls’ gymnastics events; vault, bars, beam and Damiano’s personal favorite, floor. Her vault routine was the final routine to get back on Damiano’s schedule, as the vault prioritized the most ankle stability. 

“I really hate falling, but it teaches me to get back up,” said Damiano.

Get back up she did, with the guidance of Coach Deb Smarrow, Damiano religiously worked to get back up to speed in preparation for her competitions. She iced her ankle eight times a day, completed exercise such as toe raises and “ABCS.” After a week she began icing and heating and prepping her ankle for competition with compression braces and tape.

“She (Smarrow) was just very helpful with getting me through it. I really appreciated it – she wanted it (the ankle) to heal just as quick as I wanted it to.”

Damiano not only wanted to get back to the mat for herself, but for her teammates.

“Everyone on my team especially inspires me,” said Damiano. “It’s a team sport at the high school. So, they inspire me to do my best to help the team. “

Winning the gold medal for the team with her score of 36.475 was not the only highlight of the night. Damiano returned without hindrance to the sport that has her whole heart. The love for the sport and the joy it brings is always a reward for Damiano.

“I love being able to show off what I can do because gymnastics is a very hard sport,” said Damiano. “I love just being able to go out there, especially on floor and just show what I can do and really put my personality into it.”

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