Canadian prodigy leaves enduring legacy on the mat


Cara Pomeroy competes on the balance beam in the second round of the Mixed Pairs Competition on Friday, December 8, 2006 at Huff Hall. Joseph Lamberson

By Wesley Deberry

Senior gymnast Cara Pomeroy of Ottawa was introduced to gymnastics at the age of three.

At age six, she won every event in her first gymnastics competition.

By ten, Pomeroy competed in a junior national event for the first time, winning first place on the uneven bars.

Pomeroy’s success at an early age motivated her to work hard in gymnastics.

“It has kind of taken over my whole life since I was three,” Pomeroy said.

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Pomeroy continued with her winning trend through her teenage years. In 2003 Pomeroy captained the Ontario Team which won the gold medal in the team competition of the Canada Winter Games.

With the Winter Games behind her, Pomeroy knew that she wanted to continue her gymnastics career on the collegiate level. However, in Canada athletic scholarships are not offered. So in 2004 Pomeroy made the decision to attend the University of Illinois where she has become one of the most decorated gymnasts in Illini women’s gymnastics history.

“The team was really welcoming, the coaches were really awesome and I really liked the school,” said Pomeroy when recollecting why she chose to attend the University of Illinois.

Since her arrival in 2004, Pomeroy has been elected to the All-Big Ten Team three times, she is a two-time Scholastic All-American and is the first ever Illini woman gymnast to score a perfect 10.0.

“She is going to be in the record books for as long as we have a program,” Illini women’s gymnastics head coach Bob Starkell said.

For Pomeroy it is not the individual achievement but rather the team aspect of collegiate gymnastics that motivates her. In an effort to get the most out of her younger teammates, Pomeroy shares all her knowledge and know-how with them.

“Everyday I come in, she pushes a little bit harder to make sure I am working to my full potential,” freshman gymnast Nicole Cowart said.

Aside from sharing knowledge with other teammates, Pomeroy also shares the leadership role on the team with her senior co-captains and close friends Melissa Singer and Danye Botterman.

“Cara is the rock of our team,” Singer said. “It is important to have people like her in a team sport because it kind of decreases the pressure a little bit for everybody else.”

In Pomeroy’s senior year she hopes to help lead her team to nationals. However, no matter what the outcome of the season is, Pomeroy says that she will cherish the remaining time she has to hang with her teammates.

Pomeroy is set to graduate in May with a degree in Kinesiology. After graduation she plans to return to Canada and attend physical therapy school.

“Cara is an excellent athlete but it’s probably not even her strongest attribute, she is a phenomenal student and the best part is she is a great person,” Starkell said.