Six-time World medalist and 2008 Olympic silver-medalist Chellsie Memmel confirmed today that she will officially retire from competitive gymnastics.
Below is the press release from USA Gymnastics.
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 14, 2012 – Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., who was the first U.S. woman to win the World all-around title after 11 years and earned six World and one Olympic medal, today announced her retirement from competitive gymnastics. Memmel won the World all-around title in 2005 and went on to claim a total of three World gold and three World silver medals in her career, along with the 2008 Olympic team silver. Memmel will wrap up performing in the 2012 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions this weekend.
“In her 10 years on the national team, Chellsie demonstrated her talent, her tenacity and her iron will on her way to becoming one of the top-five most decorated U.S. women gymnasts in history,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “She has overcome many adversities in her career, providing inspiration to many young gymnasts, and has played an integral part in the USA’s success on and off the field of play during those years. Chellsie has always been a great ambassador for our sport, and we look forward to her continued involvement in gymnastics.”
“I’ve accomplished so many great things throughout my career, and I’ve participated in so many unique opportunities that will be lifelong memories,” said Memmel, who has been coached by her father Andy since 2005. “It’s very hard to say ‘I’m done,’ but I’m ready to do it. I want to thank my family, friends, teammates, coaches and fans for their love and support, which means the world to me. I’m looking forward to taking this next step and starting a new life outside of competitive gymnastics.
“In the next few weeks, I’ll have a little downtime to reflect and get ready for the future,” said Memmel, who became engaged to Kory Maier, a mechanical engineer, last summer. “Gymnastics will always be a big part of my life, and I will continue to be involved as a coach and mentor, and as a judge for USA Gymnastics events. I’ve started to look at colleges and plan on enrolling in a few courses this spring and starting full-time in the fall. I also want to start working with kids across the country and develop programs to get them involved in a healthy, active lifestyle. And of course, getting married this coming August.”
"Chellsie has been a terrific representative of USA Gymnastics for many years and hasbeen an outstanding role model for young athletes who aspire to be the bestthey can be,” said Peter Vidmar, chairman of the Board for USA Gymnastics and 1984 Olympic gold medalist. “Although we will miss seeing her on the competition floor, we are confident that in the future she will bring her many talents to benefit gymnastics in whatever way she chooses."
Andy Memmel said, “It’s been a real honor. We went into this as a team and finished as a team. I’m incredibly proud as a coach, but I could not be prouder as a father. I got to be both.”
“Chellsie was one of the most talented gymnasts that I have met in my career,” said Martha Karolyi, women’s national team coordinator for USA Gymnastics. “She put her mark not only on gymnastics in the United States, but also on the international scene. Chellsie made an important contribution to the USA’s winning its first World team gold medal in 2003, and in 2005, she won the individual World all-around title, beating a very strong field. Chellsie’s difficulty and originality in her routines were very impressive, and she was a fierce competitor. I wish her the best of luck, and I look forward to seeing her continue to be involved in our sport.”
Memmel burst on to the national elite scene more than a decade ago at the 2000 U.S. Championships in St. Louis. The 12-year-old earned a place on her first of 10 National Teams – a record for an American woman, which she shares with Dominique Dawes, Nastia Liukin and Alicia Sacramone.
Three years later, Memmel made her debut as a senior competitor. Her performance at the 2003 U.S. Championships earned her a spot at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she claimed the team, all-around, unevenbars and balance beam gold medals.
Just weeks later at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, Calif., Memmel, originally the team’s second alternate, was called upon to compete. In the qualification competition, she postedthe second highest score in the all-around. During the team final, Memmel was the only U.S. competitor to compete on all four events, leading Team USA to its first-ever World team gold medal. She closed out the 2003 World Championships in style, tying with teammate Hollie Vise for the gold medal on the uneven bars.
Memmel started 2004 with an impressive third-place finish in the all-around at theAmerican Cup and, despite a broken bone in her foot, staged a remarkable comeback to serve as an alternate to the 2004 Olympic team. In December, Memmel returned to competition, winning the uneven bars title at the 2004 FIG World Cup Final in Birmingham, England.
In 2005, Memmel became the first U.S. woman to win the World all-around title since Shannon Miller in 1994. Additionally, she claimed silver medals in the uneven bars and balance beam, helping Team USA to a record-setting nine World Championships medals.
A year later as the defending champion, Memmel posted the highest qualifying score in the all-around at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. But while competing on the uneven bars in the team final, Memmel injured her right shoulder. Showing the grit, determination and embodiment of team spirit that would become her trademarks, she found a way to finish her routine, saving the United States from counting a partial score that would have cost the team a medal. Her gutsy performances on beam and floor were instrumental in the USA’s silver medal.
Memmel’s injury kept her out of competition for most of 2007, but she stormed back with a third-place finish in the all-around at the 2008 Visa Championships. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Memmel delivered one of the most memorable performances of her career on the floorexercise during the second day of competition. She stuck her double pike dismount and ran into the arms of her coach and father, Andy, to deafening cheers. Memmel was named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
At the 2008 Olympic Games, Memmel delivered a 15.750 on the uneven bars in the team final, despite a broken bone in her ankle, to help the American squad to their second consecutive Olympic team silver medal.
After competing on the balance beam at the 2009 Visa Championships, Memmel took abreak from competition. In 2011, Memmel returned to form at the CoverGirl Classic with a second-place finish in the all-around. Although she was named to the U.S. Team for the 2011 Pan American Games, she was forced to withdraw due to injuries. Memmel’s attempt to make the 2012 Olympic Team fell short, but she joined the cast of the Kellogg’s Tour and performed in all 40 cities. Memmel also is abrevet-rated judge.
“Gymnastics has given me so much,” said Memmel. “It has taught me the importance of hard work; setting goals that you want to achieve; discipline; and focus. It also gave me self-confidence. Being part of a team and being a good role model as an athlete was always very important to me. I hope I can inspire young gymnasts to keep working hard and reach for their own goals, not to give up on their dreams, and to have fun.
“I’m very proud of my career and what I’ve accomplished,” said Memmel. “Competing and representing the USA around the world is the biggest honor. I’m ready to retire now after the Kellogg’s Tour this weekend. I’ve had a great time, and it’s a great way to end my career.”
Memmel’s legacy will live on in gymnastics not only through her incredible accomplishments but also in the skill named in her honor on the floor exercise – a double turn with leg in Y-scale position.