Acrobatic Gymnastics Spotlight of the Month - Jennifer Olivas
posted on 10/01/2018

How did you discover Acro?
My parents had enrolled me in tumbling when I was three years old, and then I advanced to Acrobatic Gymnastics (then called Sports Acrobatics) when I was seven years old. I competed my first year and fell in love with the sport.

What was the highlight of your competition career?
The highlight of my competition career was when I became a base. I thought I would always be a top, and I loved it so much, but when I became a base I realized it could still be really fun. Plus, I got to experience what my bases went through.

When did you realize you wanted to coach Acro?
My best friend and owner of Turning Pointe Academy of Dance has always wanted an Acrobatics program at her studio. When I finished touring I moved back home and started teaching a recreational Acro class there. I've always loved to teach. After four years of them not competing, I was convinced these kids had what it took to take the next step and compete. That's when we decided to create the team.

What one thing did you realize during the transition from athlete to coach?
One thing I realized during the transition from athlete to coach is that I can still be an athlete as a coach. I don't compete in Acro anymore, but I do compete in Crossfit. My girls push me more and more and I find myself working on tricks I always wanted to do. I just got my standing back tucks consistently. It's never too late.

Who is someone you look up to in Acro and how have they influenced you?
I have two people that I look up to in Acro and they have both influenced me in the same way. Marcia Deguire and Paul Nolfo have guided me through my life as an athlete and they both continue to guide me as a coach. I am most appreciative.

What’s the best part of coaching?
The best part of coaching is knowing how much my athletes enjoy what they are doing. I remember how much I loved going to practice and how much joy this sport brought me growing up. I love that I can share that, and lots of stories with my athletes.

Any secret tips for new clubs out there trying to start acro?
I don't have many tips for new clubs trying to start an Acro team, but I will say to ask a lot of questions. We are only in our second year of competing and I am still trying to figure it all out. I have great mentors!! I also found it beneficial to start recreational, before competing. My athletes grew so much in the discipline before throwing the competitive edge at them. I know they appreciate that.

Favorite Acro skill?
My favorite Acro skill is anything handstand! I love being upside down.