1. Name, Age, Hometown
Karley McClain, 14 years old, lives in South Jordan, Utah.”
2. Do you have a nickname?
Most people call me Kar.
3. Please confirm hometown versus where they live to train and/or when they are in school.
I live and go to school in South Jordan and I train at All American in Lindon.
4. When and why did you first become interested in gymnastics?
There was a gym that was really close by our first house where my older cousin took gymnastics for a little while. I was only three and thought it would be fun to learn how to do flips and tricks too. My mom and dad signed me up for a class that was once a week for 45 minutes. From the first time I went, I remember I loved being at the gym and wanted to be able to take more classes as soon as I could. I have taken gymnastics full time ever since they signed me up.
5. Do you have any good/funny memories from when you first started taking gymnastics classes?
When I look at the beam skills I do now, I think it’s funny that I used to be super scared to walk across the high beam. Especially, once I got to the middle and I didn’t know if I should keep going across or turn back around.
6. 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 don’t really remember making a decision about competing, but I do remember watching the older girls and wanting to wear a shiny leo and having warm-ups with my name on the jacket like they would wear.
I love competing because I get to see how much I’ve learned and grown as a gymnast and an athlete since the end of the last season. It is exciting to see the new skills and routines that I’ve been working so hard on for so many months come together. My other favorite part about competing is being with my awesome teammates! Everyone is so supportive of each other; we’re really lucky!
7. What is your training regimen? Was that a big change when you made the switch to competitive gymnastics?
I check out of school about 1:45 Monday through Friday and travel about 30 minutes to the gym. I train from 2:30 – 6:45 and get back home about 7:30. I don’t remember ever noticing there being a big change in my training regimen…it seems like it has been gradual as I moved up to level 10.
8. What is your favorite event?
9. What is your favorite skill?
I actually have two favorites right now: shoot over on bars, and Yurchenko half on vault.
10. What music do you use for your floor routine?
“The End,” a remix by Barry Nease.
11. Who is your favorite gymnast or who is your “idol”?
I really can’t think of one gymnast who I would say is my favorite gymnast because it changes when I watch YouTube videos and I see gymnast do new skills that I’ve never seen before. Usually my favorite gymnasts are the ones doing skills that are really unique and things you don’t see very often. I love watching Danusia Francis from UCLA and her side aerial to dismount. I also love watching Simone Biles doing her Biles skill on floor.
12. How have you grown as a gymnast during your career, both skill wise and mentally?
I have learned that no matter how hard the skill may seem, if I want it badly enough and am willing to put in the time and effort, I will one day be able to do it. But I also know that even if I put in all the time, effort and hard work the skill requires of me, if I am not mentally prepared with a positive attitude and realize the skill will take time and it won’t come easy, it will be a lot harder than it needs to be if I have a negative attitude about it.
13. How has gymnastics helped you as a person?
I have learned there is only ONE person I compete against. It’s the only person I have control over and that person is myself. My parents have helped me and my sister understand since we started competing that worrying about what other gymnasts are doing and scoring is wasted energy and nothing we have control over. It has also helped me to learn how to set and review goals before and after every meet.
14. If you had to select one life-lesson that gymnastics has taught you, what would it be?
Gymnastics has taught me that you can give 110% all the time and things don’t always turn out the way you planned and hoped they would. This has helped me to understand that you have to make a choice—you can either give up and walk away, or go back and keep working for what you want. I am glad I have learned this life-lesson at a young age because I have had to use it not just in gymnastics but also in other areas in my life too. I have also learned that the harder I work for something, the more I appreciate when I succeed.
15. What are your biggest accomplishments or best memories in your career?
Undefeated Utah State Champion since I began competing as a Level 4; qualified to represent Utah as part of the Level 7 State Team at the National Judges Cup; won Region 1 Championships; qualified to Westerns (fourth place, all-around); qualified to Nastia Liukin Cup.
Another one of my greatest memories, when I think about gymnastics, is my sister Kennedi. She is also a gymnast and we get to train together, and I think that’s a memory I’ll always remember!
16. What grade are you in school, and where do you go to school?
I’m in ninth grade at American Heritage in South Jordan.
17. Do you want to compete in collegiate gymnastics?
Absolutely! I love watching college gymnastics and look forward to one day being part of a college team!
18. What are your favorite subjects, etc.?
Math and science.
19. If you plan to go to college, do you know what you want to study there?
20. What are your goals for the future, both as an athlete and after you are finished competing?
I want to continue competing in college at a Division I school. After I finish competing, I plan to continue my schooling to get my Master’s degree and become a physical therapist.
21. When you’re not in the gym, how do you enjoy spending your time? Do you have any hobbies or favorite activities? Charities?
When I’m not in the gym and not doing homework, I love spending time with my family and my sister’s two dogs, Bella and Kade. I love cooking, baking, doing crafts, and putting puzzles together with my Mom. We love being outside, especially when it’s warm. There’s a lake close by our house where we like to go fishing in the evenings during the summer. Even though it doesn’t sound like a hobby, I love to organize and make things look neat!
22. What is your favorite food?
23. What is your favorite movie? “Divergent.”
24. What is your favorite book?
“Marley and Me.”
25. What is your favorite music group?
Ed Shereen; really anything that makes me feel good and I can sing to.
26. Are any of your family members current or former athletes? Which sports?
My little sister, Kennedi, is a gymnast too. My Dad played baseball in ?, and my Mom threw the shot put and discus in high school.
27. Do you have any competition rituals? Lucky charms?
I don’t know if you call it a ritual, but on meet days and before I start an event, I picture myself doing the routine in the gym over and over again. I picture all the times I’ve stuck the routine during workout and just keep repeating it over and over. I use words that are positive that make me feel good and don’t let anything negative get in my head.
28. 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?
I have a lot of different kinds of music on my IPod right now. It’s hard for me to really like a song if I can’t sing to it. Once I know the words and I can sing along, even if it’s in my head, I like most kinds of music other than hard rock or super slow artists.
29. If you had to pick 3 words to describe yourself as a gymnast, what are they?
Determined, respectful, positive.
30. What 3 words describe you as a person, not the gymnast?
Loyal, honest, caring.