Meet Alex Kopp, a Gustie Gymnast Who Just Represented GAC at Nationals!

I sat down with Alex Kopp to ask her about her experience in gymnastics here at Gustavus. Alex Kopp represented Gustavus at nationals on April 1st and took second place finish on vault, scoring a career-high 9.700! Kopp finishes her gymnastics career with her fifth All-America honor, which includes the 2016 national champion on the floor exercise. In just three seasons with the program, Kopp’s name is plastered all over the Gustavus gymnastics record books. She owns eight of the top 15 vault scores, three of the top 10 beam scores, two of the top 14 bars scores, four of the top 10 floor scores, and six of the top 10 all-around scores, including the program records on floor (9.850) and all-around (38.525).

Photo courtesy of Alex Kopp

What is your year and major?

"Senior Business Management major."

Hometown?

"Medina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis."

How long have you been in gymnastics?

"Since I was 5, so 16 years probably. I didn't do it my freshman year, I transferred from the University of Minnesota."

How was that?

"It was a little bit tough. It was hard for me to find my niche in a big school and I really missed the sport. I wanted to find a smaller school so I chose Gustavus. Started training the summer before coming here. I practiced at a gym back home. It was tough to get back into shape. I was in shape but not in gymnastics shape.

What is your favorite thing about gymnastics?

"My favorite thing is that I love competing. I think it's fun to compete in front of the fans. There are some girls that can't compete yet. I love that there is variety so I never have boring practices. In comparison to other sports like basketball, there are so many events to do and I tend to get bored easily but in gymnastics there's a lot variety."

Photo courtesy of Alex Kopp

How has your gymnastics experience at Gustavus been this far and how did this season go for you? Have you had to overcome any obstacles?

"I would say that last year was my most successful year. Sophomore year I was trying to get in the groove of things. Junior year was my breakout year, I was most confident and I made it to nationals. I won floor at nationals last year so that was a big accomplishment for me. Last year I breezed through the year. This year I did have some obstacles; the whole team had a hard time on beam. It's a mental game more than physical and I get so nervous. I fell on beam at most of the meets. I always thought 'I've fallen before, I’ll probably fall again'. The way we overcame that was when the coach switched up the order. I was always in the last position so I sat there and thought about falling, so switching that up helped."  

What was your initial reaction to making it to nationals? How does it feel to represent your school in a sport at a national level?

I was honestly kind of surprised; I thought for a little while that I didn't deserve it because I had had a tough year. But I was still excited, it was really cool and exciting to make it my senior year and take some teammates with me too because last year I went by myself. I'm glad I got another chance even after having a tough season."

What is next for you?

"The season is done. It was pretty tough to say goodbye to it because it is a time consuming year-round sport; we train in the summer and compete in the winter. It's not really a life long sport. My body is done. I would hope to stay involved by coaching and judging. Some people leave their sport and start to have a bad relationship with it, but I'm glad to leave loving it. As far as professionally, I want to to work in sports management. I get to go down to Florida this summer to work with the PGA tour (a golf organization). I'm not really into golf but that's how I will be able to get into sports management. I’d like to come back and live in the Twin Cities, maybe not necessarily work in gymnastics because it's not a big business, but I like all kinds of sports."

Photo courtesy of Alex Kopp