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Interview: Marci Bernholtz (Canada)
(8 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
After serving as alternate on the 2004 Canadian Olympic team, Marci Bernholtz emerged as one of her team's steadiest competitors in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games.
Marci Bernholtz

Bernholtz, born on April 28, 1988, in Toronto, is a product of the Academy of Sport and Fitness in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Until she recently enrolled at UCLA, she was coached at ASF by Paula Johnson and Brenda Mader. Bernholtz placed third all-around at the 2005 and 2007 Canadian Championships, and second all-around at the 2006 Elite Canada meet. She was a member of Canada's 14th-place team at the 2006 and 2007 World Championships.

Bernholtz will compete for UCLA in the coming NCAA season, but says she has not ruled out a shot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Based on the Canadian team's rank at the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart, the Canadian women have earned two individual berths to Beijing.

In this interview, Bernholtz reflects on the 2007 Worlds, her new collegiate life and her Olympic prospects.

IG: What are your thoughts on your performances in Stuttgart? How satisfied were you individually, and what could you and your team have done better?

MB: Stuttgart was a great experience. Any time you can step out onto the floor at a World Championships, you automatically realize the accomplishments you have achieved in the sport. I think our team was really excited for the competition and had a great training camp leading up to Stuttgart. Unfortunately, we made some mistakes and didn't quite achieve all that we had hoped for. That's our sport. I think everyone put in 100 percent, and that's all you can ask for. Obviously we had some major errors on bars and floor, but all you can do is learn from them and fix them for next time. I think we have a lot of great gymnasts on our team, and I'm extremely proud of all of them for coming together so well and supporting each other. We had a great team dynamic.

Personally, I was pleased with my performances. I had some minor mistakes, but I was really glad that I was able to contribute two solid scores for the team. My goals were to improve my B scores and show solid routines, so I was pleased with that.

Marci Bernholtz
IG: Did the fact that Canada did not qualify a team for Beijing influence your decision to enroll at UCLA this fall instead of next fall?

MB: The original plan was to defer my enrollment until after the Olympics. There became a possibility for me to start this September, and when the team did not qualify I felt it was in my best interest to come to UCLA. I had a great environment at home. However, there are certain things that I just couldn't keep up with. UCLA has around-the-clock medical facilities and physiotherapists on staff, as well as constant care and support staff. I was literally driving all over town to get in physio treatments and cardio training, so that was a big motivator in my decision to come now.

IG: Do you plan to try for one of the two Canadian spots for Beijing?

MB: At this point I haven't decided what I'm going to do about Beijing. I have not heard exactly what the selection criteria for the individual spots will be. Right now I am just adjusting to being here at UCLA and adapting to the new environment. I'm not closing any doors, though.

IG: What are your competitive plans at UCLA — do you want to compete as an all-arounder, or focus on only some events?

MB: I definitely want to compete as an all-arounder. UCLA has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I am so excited to help the team out in any way I can. I'm excited to see what awesome floor routine (UCLA coach) Val (Kondos Field) will come up with for me - although I've already warned her, she's got her work cut out for her!

IG: What plans do you have to continue competing for Canada?

MB: Similarly to my goals for this year, I am unsure as of yet, of whether or not I will continue my international career. I have had so many great experiences through the sport, and right now I'm just taking things one day at a time. I'll see how my body feels, and who knows? Right now I'm just excited to compete!

IG: How are you enjoying life at UCLA? What are the biggest adjustments so far?

MB: Life here at UCLA is great! The team and coaching staff are amazing. I came in a little later than the other girls because of Worlds, but everyone immediately welcomed me with open arms. It truly is like walking into a family - only in this family I have 15 sisters! I'm slowly learning the ropes and finding my way around campus.

The cut in training hours has been a change for me. The girls sometimes laugh when I get that shocked look on my face when it's time to rotate events. I always want to stay longer. They are all helping me out though.

Starting school again has also been an adjustment for me since I took last year off school to focus on gym. It's been a little hectic, but I'm enjoying the change and balancing everything out.

IG: What is your academic schedule like?

MB: I'm currently taking two general educations and a chemistry course. I am really interested in human anatomy and physiology, and am considering a career in medicine. I'm looking into the physiological sciences major, so that will definitely keep me busy!

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