- Category : Gymnast
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 6/3 - Role Model / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Identification 2
Alicia Marie Sacramone; born December 3, 1987 is a retired American artistic gymnast.
Sacramone began gymnastics at the age of eight, started competing in the elite ranks in 2002 and joined the U.S. national team in 2003. At US National Championships from 2004 to 2008, she won twelve medals, including four golds on vault and two golds on floor exercise. At World Championships from 2005 to 2007, she won seven medals, including a floor exercise gold in 2005 and a team gold in 2007. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she won a team silver medal. In 2010, Sacramone made a comeback by winning the National Championship on Vault. Later in 2010 at the World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands, she won the World Title on Vault as well. Her gold gave her a total of nine medals overall, joining Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin as the U.S. athletes with the most medals at the gymnastics world championships until the US team won gold in the team finals at the 2011 World Championships. Though she was injured and could not compete, she still received a medal as an official member of the U.S. team, earning her tenth World medal, making her the most decorated U.S. gymnast in the history of the World Championships.
Sacramone has become noteworthy for supportive leadership of her teammates as well as outspoken remarks in interviews.
Sacramone was born on December 3, 1987 in Boston, Massachusetts to parents Fred, an orthodontist, and Gail Sacramone. She is of Italian descent. Sacramone has an older brother, Jonathan. She graduated from Winchester High School in 2006. She is dating NFL quarterback Brady Quinn.
Sacramone began studying dance at the age of five and started training gymnastics three years later, at age eight, in 1996. She began her gymnastics career with Romanian coaches Mihai and Silvia Brestyan at Gymnastics and More club and continued to train with them after they opened their own training facility in Ashland. The Brestyans continue to serve as Sacramone's coaches.
Her results improved immensely in 2003, when she placed 14th in the all-around and won a bronze medal on the Floor and place 4th on Vault at the 2003 U.S. Nationals, earning a spot on the U.S. National gymnastics team. Sacramone also participated in her first international competition in 2003, the Massilia Cup in France, where she placed fourth on the floor exercise and ninth on vault.
In 2004, Sacramone earned a spot on the US team for the Pacific Alliance Championships in Hawaii. She contributed several scores to help the team to a gold medal finish and won the individual vault title. Sacramone's strong performances caught the attention of the media, who began to consider her a legitimate contender for the American team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
However, at the 2004 U.S. Nationals, an error-filled performance dashed Sacramone's hopes of an Olympic berth. Although she tied with Mohini Bhardwaj for the silver medal on the vault, she finished in 19th place overall and did not qualify to the Olympic Trials. She also suffered an injury to her back and required time off to recover.
Sacramone continued competing in late 2004 as a member of the U.S. national team, and was assigned to several international meets, including the Pan American Individual Event Championships, where she won the vault and floor exercise titles. At the World Cup Finals in Birmingham, England, Sacramone attracted media attention again when she upset reigning Olympic vault champion Monica Ro?u to take first place on the event.
At the 2005 U.S. National Championships, Sacramone won the individual titles on floor and vault, scoring a 9.9 on the latter event, and placed third on the balance beam and fourth in the all-around. She was named to the American team with Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel for the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, where she won a gold medal on floor and placed third on the vault. She also defended her World Cup vault title successfully in 2005, winning the event at both the World Cup qualifier in Ghent and the finals in Paris.
Sacramone continued to compete for the U.S. team in 2006, participating in the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, where she won a silver medal with the American squad and an individual silver on the vault. She defended her vault and floor titles at that year's U.S. Nationals.
In September 2006, Sacramone enrolled in Brown University and joined the school's gymnastics team. During the 2006–2007 season, she juggled a full NCAA competition schedule with her elite training at Brestyan's. She was the first female American gymnast since Kelly Garrison in the late 1980s to combine full-time university studies and NCAA competition with elite gymnastics.
During Sacramone's first year with the Brown Bears, she broke the school's records for the highest scores in the all-around, vault and floor exercise. She was named ECAC Rookie of the Year and swept the Ivy League Classic, becoming the first gymnast to win all five events and posting the highest all-around total ever recorded at the competition. She qualified as an individual on the floor exercise for the NCAA National Championships, the second Brown gymnast ever to do so, but did not advance beyond the preliminary round.
At the 2007 U.S. National Championships, Sacramone competed on three events, choosing to skip the uneven bars. She defended her title on the vault, placed second on the floor exercise and third on the balance beam. Following Nationals, Sacramone was named to the American team for the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
During the qualifying round at the World Championships, Sacramone performed well, qualifying for event finals in floor and vault and contributing to the top qualifying position of the American team. Sacramone also posted a score on beam that would have been high enough to qualify her to the beam event final. However, due to the FIG rule only allowing two athletes per country to participate in each event final, and due to the fact that team mates Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson qualified ahead of her with higher scores, Sacramone was unable to compete for a beam medal. For the team final, Sacramone competed on vault, beam, and floor, earning 15.750, 15.600 and 15.325 respectively. When the American team faltered after a difficult beam rotation, in which two gymnasts made major errors, Sacramone gathered the team for a pep talk to refocus them for floor. The American team earned 184.400 points overall which was good enough to secure the gold medal ahead of the Chinese and Romanians.
In event finals, Sacramone received a bronze medal for her vault performance and a silver on floor behind teammate Shawn Johnson. She was visibly upset by her performances, and fought back tears after floor and during the flower and medal ceremonies.
Both the Brestyans and the U.S. National Team Coordinator, Marta Karolyi, suggested that Sacramone forgo NCAA competition during the 2007–2008 season to concentrate on her preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In September 2007, Sacramone announced that she was "turning pro" and signed with an agent, forfeiting her remaining NCAA eligibility.
In the 2007–2008 academic year, Sacramone continued to work with the Brown Bears gymnastics team as a volunteer assistant coach. She remained a student at Brown, concentrated in sociology, but took the spring 2008 semester off to prepare for the Olympics.
Sacramone competed well at the 2008 U.S. National Championships in Boston and the Olympic Trials in Philadelphia. On July 19, she was named to the 2008 Olympic Team for Beijing.
2008 Summer Olympics
At the Olympics, Sacramone performed on three events in both the qualifying and team final rounds of competition. In the team final, Sacramone posted a 15.675 score on vault but fell on both floor (14.125) and beam (15.1), incurring 1.70 points in deductions.
In the day following the Olympic team finals, Sacramone was largely blamed for the American team's silver medal placement, and was the subject of negative commentary in media reports. Sacramone herself took responsibility for the results, noting, "It's kinda hard not to blame myself." However, analysts in the gymnastics community, including University of Georgia head coach Suzanne Yoculan, former Olympian John Roethlisberger and International Gymnast editor Paul Ziert, noted that the American team started the competition at a difficult point deficit to the Chinese and that mathematically, Sacramone could not have been personally or exclusively responsible for the U.S. team's results. Sacramone also received support from the American team. In one interview, teammate Bridget Sloan stated, "We've all made mistakes. It's just really hard to see her go and leave these Olympics knowing that she thinks it's her fault. It is definitely not and we've all been encouraging her very much."
Individually, Sacramone placed third overall on vault in the preliminary round of competition and qualified to the individual event final on that event. In the vault final, Sacramone placed fourth behind Hong Un Jong, Oksana Chusovitina and Cheng Fei (somewhat controversially, since Cheng fell on her second vault). She also placed fourth overall on beam in preliminaries behind Li Shanshan of China and teammates Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, but did not advance to the eight-person event finals due to the "two per country" rule.
2008 temporary retirement
In interviews, Sacramone alluded to retiring after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She confirmed her retirement in February 2009 during an interview at a Boston Bruins ice hockey game.
2009–2010 return to training and competition
On August 6, 2009, Sacramone announced her return to training for elite competition. Her return was slowed, however, after having shoulder surgery earlier that year.
On July 24, 2010, Sacramone competed in the CoverGirl Classic. She placed first in both beam and vault, not competing on floor or bars. Her return to competitive form was judged dramatically successful by meet commentators and she was named USA Today's "Athlete of the Week".
Sacramone competed in the U.S. National Championships in August, performing only vault and balance beam. She placed first on vault (her fifth national title on that apparatus) and second on balance beam. She was also named Sportsperson of the Year.
At the World Championships in October, Sacramone won a gold medal on the vault and a silver medal in the team competition. That gave her nine world medals, and tied her with Shannon Miller and Nastia Liukin for the most world medals by an American female gymnast at that time.
In July 2011, Sacramone added floor exercise to her competitive repertoire at the CoverGirl Classic in Chicago, Illinois. Competing on three events, Sacramone won gold on vault, tied for gold on beam with Jordyn Wieber of Michigan, and won the bronze on floor (13.9).
At August's 2011 Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota, Sacramone won the balance beam title with a two-night score of 30.1. She placed second to McKayla Maroney on vault (30.6), and she tied with Hallie Mossett for eighth place on floor exercise (27.35).
After participating in two selection camps at the Karolyi Ranch in New Waverly, Texas, Sacramone was named to the 2011 U.S. women's world championships gymnastics team.
While training at the World Championships in Tokyo, Sacramone sustained a tear of her Achilles tendon. She returned to the U.S. immediately for surgery on the tear. However, the U.S. team retained her name on the roster, so she was eligible to receive a gold medal in the team event in absentia. With her tenth World medal, Sacramone became the most decorated American gymnast at the World Championships.
Sacramone qualified for the 2012 Visa National Championships. She placed first on vault and third on balance beam. At the Olympic Trials, Sacramone placed second on both vault and balance beam, but was not named to the Olympic team. “I leave this sport with no regrets" posted Sacramone on her Twitter feed shortly after the Olympic Team was selected, suggesting that she is likely to retire.
In June 2008, Sacramone and her team mates Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin became the first female athletes ever to be signed as CoverGirl spokesmodels. Sacramone is also a member of Team 24 Fitness and serves as a spokeswoman for the fitness company. In 2009, she also appeared in a Gatorade commercial that spoofed Monty Python and the Holy Grail as "Alicia, The Girl Who Made Horse Trotting Noises."
During the summer of 2009, Sacramone briefly stayed in Los Angeles, California and she designed for Tank Farm, a men's fashion company. She has discussed her intent to return to college in the media, but announced in August 2009 that she was not intending to return to Brown University. In an interview with Inside Gymnastics Magazine, she stated, "I plan to continue school but I’m looking into transferring somewhere in Boston,” she explains. “Brown is a great school and I loved it, but it was just not the best atmosphere for me; maybe a little too liberal. It was a great two years and I learned a lot about myself and from the professors and coaches there. I’m looking at Boston University, Boston College and Harvard. I want to weigh my options before I make an ultimate decision, but I would love to transfer to Harvard. I think that would be pretty much ideal."
She appeared nude in ESPN's 2011 "Body Issue" and talked about how her body had evolved throughout her elite career and the changes in her self-perception.