Life is finally returning to normal for Caroline Lichtman, San Marino’s star hometown gymnast.
After a year of stay-at-home orders, Zoom practices, virtual meets, reduced training hours and general uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lichtman has advanced to compete at the USA Gymnastics women’s national championships that will take place this weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida.
It’s quite an accomplishment even under normal circumstances. But during a pandemic, it’s downright astonishing. Not only are gymnasts essentially required to stay in elite physical shape, but the sport requires the mastery of apparatus and equipment where literally every centimeter can provide the margin between success and failure. That’s not exactly an environment that is fostered by gym closures or anything that can be classified as “virtual.” Like any top athlete, he or she must train on a daily basis – and train hard – to stay on top of their game.
Caroline started off the 2020 season in fine form, but before she could compete at state and regional competitions and, ultimately, qualify for nationals, the season was upended by the pandemic. It is only through the perseverance that is necessary for – and ultimately fortified by – the daily rigors of the sport that she finds herself at the upper echelon of gymnastics.