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Li Launches Second Phase of Elite Career
(26 votes, average 4.31 out of 5)

Although UCLA gymnast Anna Li is completing her collegiate career, she told IG she is eager to rekindle her elite career under the coaching of her parents, 1984 Olympic medalists Wu Jiani and Li Yuejiu.

"It took me a long time to decide if I wanted to go back into elite gymnastics," said Li after she placed second all-around, and first on vault and uneven bars, at the NCAA Regional Championships held Saturday at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. "I decided I wanted to because I still have passion for the sport and I want to leave the sport without regrets."

The 21-year-old Li said she is already prepared to upgrade her routines so they are competitive with current international standards. During the 2009-2010 NCAA season, her top skills include a Shaposhnikova, Tkatchev and double layout dismount on uneven bars; and a double layout on floor exercise. Li scored 10.0 under the NCAA scoring system on uneven bars on Saturday.

"I still have a lot of elite skills, but I've mainly just focused on my collegiate routines for now, and then I will pick up the rest of the skills afterwards," Li said. "I trained a lot of them pre-season, but when it started getting more serious during NCAA season, I backed off on them."

Li said she plans to train under her parents in Illinois after she finishes her UCLA studies this summer. Wu and Li Yuejiu, who coached their daughter for her entire pre-UCLA career, opened Legacy Elite Gymnastics club in Naperville, Ill., earlier this month.

"I was on the five-year plan, but I decided to cram all my classes in the summer," said Li, a history major. "I'm doing both sessions in summer. The last week of school for the summer is Sept. 10, so I will start with them after that."

Li said she and her parents are eager to begin a new phase of their careers together. Wu won a team bronze medal and Li won a team silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where the gymnastics competition was held at Pauley Pavilion. Li has competed in UCLA's home meets at Pauley Pavilion for the past four years.

"They've grown in experience as elite coaches in the U.S., because they've had two national team members in the past couple of years," said Li of her parents. "I told them they probably don't even know what I'm like anymore, because my work ethic is totally different. They saw it when I went home to train with them at Christmas break. I think they're excited to work with me, and I'm excited to work with them again."

Li said she understands that returning to the international elite level will require persistence and patience.

"I'm just excited to retrain my elite skills and see what happens," she told IG. "I'm not expecting certain results by a certain time. I'm not like, 'I have to make worlds, I have to make the Olympics.' I just want to train elite, take it day by day and see where it leads me."

External Link: Legacy Elite Gymnastics

Comments (2)add comment

sawewewrah said:

April 14, 2010
Votes: +0

mikey32323 said:

April 14, 2010
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