COVID-19 led the International Olympic Committee to reschedule the 2020 Summer Olympics for 2021. This means sports like gymnastics and swimming, which normally occur every four years, have to wait it out. Gymnastics, in particular, tends to create stars during the Olympics. In 2012, one athlete to emerge as a fan-favorite was Jordyn Wieber.
The gymnast was just 17 years old during the competition. A lot has happened in eight years since then. Here’s what Wieber is doing now.
Jordyn Wieber’s gymnastics career
As with many Olympic gymnasts, Wieber took up the sport at a young age, recalling she started when she was two or three years old. She says her parents put her in gymnastics after noticing her muscles were unusually bigger than typical kids around her age. It turned out to be a good decision.
An 11-year-old Wieber rose to Junior International Elite level in 2006. That year, she came in ninth place in the all-around at the National Championships. This was also when she joined the U.S. national team for the first time. Wieber continued to rise through the ranks of U.S. gymnastics and compete at the Olympic Trials in July 2012. She qualified for the Olympic squad and competed in London later that month.
Wieber at the 2012 Olympics
In London, Wieber placed fourth overall in the qualifier. Her 60.032 score was better than 21 competitors, but she didn’t qualify for the final. Her teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas finished ahead of Wieber. She was left out of the final due to the Olympics’ rule limiting each participating country to a maximum of two gymnasts in the all-around final.
She did get to compete in the team final and was part of the “Fierce Five” squad that won the gold in the event. The 2012 team, including Wieber, has been inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, details Insider.
Post-Olympic life and Larry Nassar
In the fall of 2013, Wieber enrolled as a freshman at UCLA. She worked with the gymnastics team, as a team manager for her first three years and as a volunteer assistant coach her senior year. In 2017, Wieber graduated from UCLA with a degree in psychology.
During her time at college, she retired from elite gymnastics in 2015. Wieber was the first member of the 2012 gold medal-winning team to do so. In 2018, Wieber testified in court against Larry Nassar, who was USA Gymnastics’ team doctor. She has since become an advocate for victims of child sexual abuse.
What Wieber is doing now
Even though Wieber retired from competitive gymnastics at a young age, she remains active in the sport. In April 2019, the University of Arkansas announced that the school hired Wieber to become the head coach of the women’s gymnastics program.
The hire made her the first Olympic champion to become the head coach of a collegiate program. Wieber was already the first female Olympic champion to coach at the NCAA level during her time working with the Bruins squad at UCLA.
When she was hired, Wieber said, “Gymnastics has provided me some extraordinary opportunities, from traveling the world and competing for my country at the Olympics.” She explained that those experiences “have been invaluable to my growth personally and professionally while also preparing me for this role.”