Photo by Oluremi Adebayo
Often when people think of Black women in sports, they think of basketball, track, and maybe softball and soccer.
But with the year that collegiate Black gymnasts are having, I think everyone should start thinking “gymnastics, basketball, track, and maybe softball and soccer.”
We know the OGs of Black girl gymnasts, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, have shown us that Black girls are amazing at throwing themselves in the air, turning and spinning with controlled power, and landing ever so delicately and gracefully. We know that Black girls can. But let’s be real here, I, along with other people, believed that Gabby and Simone would be the only Black girls to be trailblazers. After watching gymnastics lately, I can say the OGs definitely have some amazingly talented Black gymnasts following in their footsteps.
**All hail the reigning NCAA Champion on vault**
So not only is Haleigh Bryant a champion, she also owns the title of 2021 SEC Freshman of the Year for gymnastics. And she did all of this as a FRESHMAN… at LSU (Louisiana State University). This queen brings skill and spark to every event she does at a meet. Throughout her LSU career, she has scored a high of 10 on vault, 9.90 on bars, 9.925 on beam, and 9.975 on floor.
I think we should change the saying from Jack of all trades to Haleigh of all trades– because she is amazing at Every. Single. Event. she competes in.
She currently holds 14 individual titles over the course of her LSU career, with 8 coming from vault, 4 from all-around, and 2 from floor.
With the trajectory she’s on, I would expect to see this number doubled (if not more) by the time she graduates – because she’s just that good!
I recently watched a clip of Derriane Gobourne’s floor routine, and all I could say was “that’s a Black Queen right there.” She made every movement with such strength, attitude, and grace. I got chills watching it.
This Queen is a senior at Auburn University where she was the 2019 NCAA National Champion for vault and named 2021 Co-Specialist of the Year. During her years at Auburn, she’s proven to be great at everything she tried. Her freshman year, she scored her career high 9.95 on vault at the 2019 NCAA Regional AND Championship. She continued that same success her sophomore and junior years by earning the honor of “All-SEC” for 2020 and 2021.
At the rate she’s going, especially with that floor routine, I would expect some great things to happen for her during her senior year.
If manifestation could have a picture of someone in its dictionary entry, it would have a picture of Florida senior, Nya Reed. Less than 24 hours before she would get a perfect score (10.0) on her floor routine, she made the following tweet: “I want to be in 10.0 club so bad.”
Watching her floor routine, I was just overcome with such pride and admiration. The way she held so much control, attitude and power was something to be in awe to watch. The energy she brought to the floor was nothing less than the best form of Black Girl Magic, and I was absolutely here for it.
This is nothing new for her though. During her junior season, she was crowned “SEC Specialist of the Week” three times. Her career bests include 9.925 on vault and 10.0 on floor. I predict that her senior season will give her the champion title, and I would hope to be proven correct.
Shoutout to these Black women completely dominating the collegiate gymnast world.
“Alexa, play ‘Black Girl Magic’ by Che Lingo, PLEASE and THANK YOU.”