Q&A: Winchester’s Olympian lands in Beijing

Eric Tsetsi

The opening ceremony to the Beijing Olympic Games kicks off Friday night.

Thousands of athletes from around the world are participating in the highly anticipated competition, including one of Winchester’s own.

Twenty-year-old Alicia Sacramone, a 2006 Winchester High School graduate and Brown University student, earned a spot on the U.S. Gymnastics team in late July after weeks of anticipation.

Sacramone landed in Beijing Friday, Aug. 1, and took some time out of her training schedule to talk with The Winchester Star.

Q: How do you feel about traveling to Beijing and what are you doing to get prepared for competition?

A: I’m excited to be part of the Olympic team and excited to compete at the Games in China. It’s definitely a dream come true to represent our country and compete with the top teams and athletes in the world, in gymnastics and all of the other sports. To prepare, I have been keeping up my conditioning and injury prevention. Right now, though, we have double sessions and my workouts are routine based, focusing on small details to try to get everything perfect. But we throw in some cardio in there as well to keep our endurance up. 

Q: What role do you find yourself in as a member of the U.S. woman’s gymnastics team?

A: I just fell into the position of team leader. It wasn’t something I asked for, but I think it just happened naturally since I am the oldest and have a good amount of experience. I guess in the eyes of my teammates I have earned their respect and they feel like they can come to me when they need advice or comfort.

Q: What are your greatest strengths in competition and as a member of the team?

A: I am definitely vocal and I am always encouraging the girls in training and competition. But outside the gym, I am also there to be their friend or give advice.

Q: When did you first begin your gymnastics career? Where did you first begin training?

A: I started gymnastics at age 8. I’ve always trained at the same gym with the same coaches. I train at Brestyan’s American Gymnastics Club (in Burlington) with Mihai and Silvia Brestyan.

Q: Were there any places in particular where you used to practice, like the local playground or your back yard?

A: I definitely practiced in my backyard and the pool was a great place to try out new tricks.