Thursday, December 6, 2012

Miss Val Interview, Part 1

I'm a pretty big fan of Valorie Kondos-Field, the head coach of the UCLA women's gymnastics team. My fandom began simply enough--I loved the floor routines she choreographed, which in turn, made me a fan of her program. And when I lived in LA, I went to several UCLA home meets by myself (cause I couldn't convince any friends to accompany me) and sat in the stands feeling left out as everyone around me began singing the UCLA fight song. (My alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, has a school song that is accompanied by a hand gesture eerily similar to the Nazi salute.) And yet I still kept going until I moved back to the East Coast.

Over the course of this summer, I had occasion to interview her twice--first for this story in The Atlantic and then for a piece about the declining quality of floor exercise dance in Slate. I found Kondos-Field to be intelligent and insightful and not at all prone to platitudes that we often come to associate with interviews about athletics.

So I was extra pleased (fangirling a bit here so please forgive me) to get the opportunity to speak with Miss Val yet again, this time for a much more extended period of time. Prior to the interview, she had expressed a desire to go deep and get philosophical and introspective. And boy did she ever.

Check out Part 1 of Gymcastic's interview with this coaching legend. 

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