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Beaver Gymnasts find confidence in floor routines

The process of making perfect floor routines is long, arduous and self revealing. KEZI's Andrew Haubner went up to Corvallis to get to the bottom of how the magic happens.

Posted: Feb 21, 2019 7:25 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2019 7:28 PM

Corvallis, Ore. -- Floor routines in gymnastics are the crowd pleasers, the viral sensations. It may be UCLA's Katelyn Ohashi or Lauren Hernandez at the 2016 Olympics, or even up at Oregon State. But the process of making these routines is long, arduous and self revealing. KEZI's Andrew Haubner went up to Corvallis to get to the bottom of how the magic happens. 

"It's hard to see what someone's personality is when you're upside down on the bars and they can't see their face," says OSU junior Isis Lowery. "But on the floor, you're like...this is me."

Simple as that. The floor routine is the culmination of a long creative process for Oregon State gymnasts like Lowery.

So what really is harder? The leaps, the choreography, or choosing the music?

"Ok honestly, personally I would say the leaps," Lowery explains. "So I would say the choreography...easy...down pat for me. Picking the music, that's pretty hard too."

For teammate Kaitlyn Yanish, the music is critical. It not only sets the mood, it has to set the mood too. 

"The last three routines that I've had, I've tried to do a more upbeat, my personality type of thing," says Yanish. "So, and especially in college. You wanna have more of like a fun, crowd get into it type of vibe and that's what I've been going with."

To the Division I gymnasts, choosing the music may be the hard part. For us at home, it's probably the flips and spins. But for head coach Tanya Chaplin, it's all about making the perfect routine, a full year or more process.

"Yes, it definitely is," Chaplin mentions. "Each week we try to grow a bit more and try to add another layer."

"I've been doing the flips for so long that it's gotten pretty easy for me," continues Yanish. "But the dance, like the leaps, Tanya always makes me redo a few of them."

Put all these things together and you have the makings of a perfect routine. But what gets it that 10 is that expression, that mood from the gymnast and the Beaver women have found a lot of confidence in this creative process.

"This is not an event you can be shy on," says Chaplin. "Some of them, their personalities may be shy naturally but they can express themselves more on floor than they can talking to someone or being around people."

"And they're also different but not one of them is boring, because everyone brings that personality forward," Lowery explains. "And that's what Tanya really tries to drill into her head 'make them watch you, captivate them, make them not want to look at anything else' and I'm like got it!"

It's a passion, it's a confidence, it's hundreds of hours of work put in, surrendering to the music: a true reflection of self. And it's also a way to get people coming back for more.

"It's just more of a show compared to the other events so I think when people see something they really like, and that's really catchy and fun to watch then they're like oh my gosh, college gymnastics is so cool or the Olympics is so cool," Yanish concludes. "So yeah I definitely think it's a hook for liking gymnastics."

"They really shine out ther eand they bring that full performance quality to their floor routine," Chaplin says. "It makes them stop and look at it because they're not only doing all of this dance, but they're performing skills that are really incredible."

The only question still to be answered: what song's going to be in the next routine?

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