By Romy Schwaiger
To compete at the Olympic Games is a dream of many young high performance athletes – and so it is for Jessica Ling. Jessica, only 14 years old, is already a level 10 gymnast, who recently qualified at the CGA Parents Club Coaches Spectacular in Covington, Ky., for the Nastia Liukin Cup. “This is my first year in Level 10, and it took a lot of time and work to get here,” she says.
Jessica is a member of the women’s team at the Oakland Gymnastics Training Center in Walled Lake, Mich., where Ruth Miller is her coach. Jessica, called ‘Ling’ by her friends, looks up to her older teammates, but her role model is Nastia Liukin, who won five medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. “A lot of people say that I look like her,” said Jessica, “And, I am very excited to meet her at the final event in New York.”
To get her focus before competitions, Jessica tries to visualize all the different events the night before. She has a lucky charm, a stuffed dog, which she has had in her gym bag since Level 5. Her favorite event is bars, “because I feel like I’m flying.” The uneven bars is also where she has achieved her highest score – a 9.625 last year. She also achieved her biggest success in 2011, when she won the all-around title at the regional meet in Ohio.
Jessica is just a freshman at Walled Lake Central High School, where her favorite subject is math. But, she already set a goal to get a college scholarship for gymnastics after she graduates from high school. While she is not in the gym, she likes to hang out with her friends or do other sports, such as waterskiing or snow skiing.