Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Spotlight Is On

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Spotlight Is On

Article excerpt

SAN JOSE, Calif. --

If Rita and Dave Wieber have learned anything about their daughter and gymnastics it is this: Don't cross Jordyn.

Eight years ago they tried to get her to quit because the sport interfered with family ski weekends. But she pitched a fit any time the parents suggested scaling back.

Finally the Wiebers decided they had to make it work. As Jordyn, 16, headlines the U.S. Olympic trials that begin tonight at HP Pavilion, she and her family hope they have struck the fine balance between gymnastics stardom and a future beyond the beam and uneven bars.

"Gymnastics is not Jordyn's entire life," Rita Wieber said. "At some point it will be over. I don't want her to feel she has nothing left."

Rita, an emergency room nurse, college lecturer and author of a new book about the experience of being a Gym Mom, has tried to manage expectations as her daughter has leapt into the Olympic spotlight a month before the London Games.

Eight years ago, the parents weren't thinking about such possibilities. Rita just wanted more snow time at the family's weekend cottage.

But she also understands how parents can lose perspective. Rita has written about her experience in "Gym Mom, Surviving Your Daughter's Gymnastics Career." It is timed to launch for the start of the trials that open Thursday with the first day of the men's competition.

"It's the book I wish someone would have handed me when Jordyn started at age 4," she said. "I had no idea what the world of gymnastics consisted of."

Everything accelerated last fall when Jordyn, a high school junior from DeWitt, Mich., won the prestigious all-around title at the World Championships in Japan. The performance led to appearances on "Today" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and the signing of a professional contract.

Three weeks ago, Jordyn won her second consecutive national title by edging principal rival Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va. She will be one of the most talked-about athletes at the four-day event in San Jose as U.S. gymnastics officials pick the men's and women's teams it will send to the London Games.

It's not what the Wiebers had planned when enrolling their daughter at a central Michigan club called the Twisters. …

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