Former IGI Elite Gymnast Liz Tricase was featured in recent a Chicago Tribune article:
Athletes who just miss Olympics learn painful but valuable lessons
Liz Tricase’s Olympic push began when she was only 10, after a gymnastics coach spotted her potential and encouraged her to shoot for the Games. Within a few years she was training 34 hours per week while attending Lake Park High School, leaving early so she could spend more time in the gym.
Her dedication and talent led her to the top of the sport: She made the national team as a freshman, won the vault at the 2002 national championships and, two years later, was one of 13 gymnasts under consideration for nine spots on the 2004 Olympic squad.
The final selection came after a week of competition overseen by team coordinator Martha Karolyi. In a made-for-TV spectacle, the gymnasts were seated on metal bleachers and, one by one, those who made the team as a full member or an alternate were called forward.
Tricase, then 17, was one of four left sitting on the bleachers. A camera lingered on their bleak faces as Karolyi wrapped up the announcement.
“I was absolutely disappointed,” Tricase said. “I knew that was my shot. I liked to think about trying (to make the next Olympic team), but realistically, that was my chance.”
She remained in the sport, though, accepting a full athletic scholarship from Stanford. The college version was less pressure-filled and more team-oriented than what she was used to and gave her a pleasant transition into post-gymnastics life.
Tricase now lives in the Bay Area and works in advertising for Facebook, and says the sting of her Olympic letdown faded long ago.
“Today I look back and see all the lessons I learned: having to train so hard, learning grit and resilience and persevering through challenges,” she said. “There was a time when I was a little afraid to talk about it, but as I’ve gotten older, it’s cool to look back and be grateful for the highlights.”