San Marino’s Caroline Lichtman was recently chosen as a member of the United States national gymnastic team, headed up by world-renowned coaches Marta Karoyli and Valeri Liukin. Training began last month at the famous Karoyli training ranch in Texas – the official U.S. Olympic training center for USA Gymnastics.
Caroline is eight years old and attends Valentine Elementary School. As a result of her selection she will twice this year travel to Texas to train as a member of the national team.
Training at Pasadena’s Club Champion, Caroline was selected by her coaches to participate in the TOPS national gymnastic testing program, organized and designed by the USAG to function as a talent search and educational program for female gymnasts ages 7-10 and their coaches. During the months of June and July, gymnasts between the ages of 7 and 10 were evaluated on physical abilities at the state and regional level. Gymnasts who qualify were invited to participate in the National TOPS test that was conducted in the month of October where they are evaluated on conditioning and skill levels. There, Caroline was one of fifty-six gymnasts from around the nation who participated in the national testing.
It’s not without hard work, dedication and love of the sport that enabled Caroline to achieve her early goals. She trains 28 hours a week at her home gym and “loves every minute of it.” She started gymnastics three years ago after her father, Peter Lichtman – a retired Judge from the L.A. Superior Court – thought it would be a good fit for her. “She exuded strength, flexibility and tons of energy,” her dad told The Tribune. Gymnastics has now become an integral part of her life. She gave up ballet and springboard diving for her newfound love.
Caroline competed in Level 4 in the 2011 meet season where she took home numerous gold, silver and bronze medals and is the reigning California state uneven bars champion. Typically, a gymnast moves up one level every season or competition year. Her coaches, Oksana Suvalova and Ivan Bereznyakov, moved her to an accelerated track. In the 2012 meet season, Caroline competed in one Level 5 competition – where she took the gold in the all-around. As a result of her performance in just one Level 5 competition, Caroline was again elevated to her current Level 6. In 2013, she is expected to join the optionals and will be competing at level 7.
Caroline’s mom, Liz – a homemaker – enjoys watching her daughter perform and admires her tenacity.
“There are days when she comes home frustrated from not getting a new skill but the next day she will come out of the gym with an ear-to-ear grin knowing what she had just accomplished”, says her mom.
Her sister, Catherine, a sixth grader at Huntington Middle School, is always supporting her every step – and jump, and leap and flip.
In what little down time she has, Caroline loves spending time with her family and traveling to Hawaii. She enjoys watching Sponge Bob Square Pants, playing with her friends, and – of course – playing games on her iPhone.
Naturally, she wants to follow in the footsteps of the Fab Five – Jordyn, Gabby, Ally, Kayla, and McKayla and be an Olympian one day. Let’s hope for the best.
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