INDIANAPOLIS – Kristy Powell (Cincinnati, Ohio), the reigning national co-champion in women’s artistic gymnastics, has decided to retire from competition, effective immediately.
“I’ve made every team there was to make, except the Olympic Team,” she said. “Although I’d love to make an Olympic Team, the everyday work that needs to be done is not realistic for me now. My body can’t handle it anymore.”
A two-time World Championships team member (1996 and 1997), Powell tied Vanessa Atler for the all-around title at the 1997 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Denver last August, where she also was crowned national champion in uneven bars. In her most recent international competition, the International Team Championships held in Knoxville, Tenn., at the end of March, Powell helped the USA team to a gold-medal ahead of China and current world champion Romania.
Powell enjoyed success in both team and individual events during her international competitive career from the time she made her debut in 1993, when she earned three silver medals at a dual meet against Japan in Hamamatsu, Japan. In 1995, she claimed the all-around title and vault and uneven bars golds as a last-minute replacement at the McDonald’s American Cup in Seattle, Wash. That same year she also was part of the USA squad which took the team gold medal at the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
“Gymnastics is something I really, really love and put all my heart and soul into it,” said Powell. “It’s hard to walk away. I hope to find something else that I can put my energy and efforts into.”
Born in Stuart, Fla., Powell, 18, started in gymnastics in 1985 and made her competitive debut at the 1991 U.S. Classic, placing 9th in the junior division. She indicated that she intends to stay involved in the sport by giving clinics at gyms. She is interested in a career in acting and modeling and plans to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall to study drama and acting.