Tough tumbler – Gymnast finds support from loving family
For Tiffany For Tiffany Chan, a gymnast at the University of California-Davis and a 2001 graduate of Nevada Union High School, family is the most important thing in her life.
Chan, a gymnast at the University of California-Davis and a 2001 graduate of Nevada Union High School, family is the most important thing in her life.
That fact made her first day of practice at UC-Davis even more traumatic as she watched in horror as her older sister, Allison, ruptured her Achilles’ tendon during a floor exercise and ended her career.
Three years have passed since that day, and Tiffany is now a senior preparing for her final year of competitive gymnastics. Her sister, as well as her parents, still remain an important part of her life.
Last season, her parents Jerry Chan and Lisa Moon, made it to every single one of her meets. Neither missed a single tumbling pass, dismount or routine. Allison, who is now a manager at the City of Davis Gym and a gymnastics coach, made it to every home meet and many away meets as well as Nationals in Oregon.
“My family has always played a key role in my success,” Tiffany said. “It always makes it easier when you have people in the stands you know are cheering for you.”
Tiffany also credits her family for motivating her to stick with gymnastics – a decision her college coach Ray Goldbar is grateful she made.
“We expect the seniors to act as liaisons between the coaches and the team and Tiffany has really stepped up as a real leader in that role,” Goldbar said. “She sets a really good example in the gym, works hard and has a good attitude.”
While growing up, Tiffany began to see how tough life became as she tried to fit a challenging gymnastics schedule, friends, grades and social interaction into her schedule. She contemplated quitting, but Allison encouraged Tiffany to stick with the sport.
In addition to helping her sister stay with gymnastics, Allison also played a huge role in Tiffany’s choice to attend UC-Davis.
“My sister was a pretty big part of my decision,” Tiffany said, “because she was on the team I knew most of the girls and could really ask her more questions about the program.”
And judging by the success Tiffany has had thus far, it was one of her best decisions to continue down the path of gymnastics and join the UC-Davis program.
In 2002 and 2003, Tiffany was the United States Gymnastics Association Champion on the floor exercise – her favorite event. In 2004, she placed second on the vault with a score of 9.787 and ninth on the beam with a 9.250.
If it seems weird that a top finish on the floor exercise is missing from her 2004 Nationals credentials, that’s because it is. Tiffany experienced an uncharacteristic fall during the preliminaries.
“It was pretty shocking and unfortunately it happened at a really important time,” Tiffany said. “It was pretty frustrating, but mistakes do happen.”
While Tiffany avoids focusing solely on the end goal, she does admit she wants to reclaim her lost floor exercise title this year. And despite her disappointment with the fall, Tiffany explains that her high finish on the beam was a major positive she took away from the meet. The beam has always tested her mental toughness and she is proud to be making such strides on the apparatus.
While her gymnastics career is nearing its end, school is not. Tiffany will graduate in December, but will then go on to a four-year program to become an optometrist – the same career as both of her parents.
A valedictorian at NU, Tiffany has always shared a passion for science with her parents and hopes some day to join them in the optometry business they own.
But for now, Tiffany has her mind set on making this her most successful year in gymnastics. The floor exercise crown might have eluded her last year, but Tiffany is determined to welcome the crown back to a familiar owner.
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