World Cup bars champion Shapiro interviews with USA Gymnastics
posted on 03/17/2009

Samantha Shapiro
© Lloyd Smith
Fifteen-year-old Samantha Shapiro of All Olympian Gymnastics Center in Los Angeles won the gold medal on uneven bars at the World Cup in Montreal, March 7-8. We caught up with Shapiro and asked about her experience at the competition.

USA Gymnastics: How did it feel to win the gold medal on bars at a World Cup?
Samantha: It is a wonderful feeling to be able to compete for the U.S. It is an indescribable feeling for me to stand on the podium of an international meet as a representative of my country. I feel honored and privileged to represent the U.S. I was very happy that I was able to compete and win on bars.

USA Gymnastics: Tell me about your gold medal bar routine?
Samantha: I injured my foot on the first day of training. I thought about each skill of the routine, one at a time, and then when it came time for the dismount, I told myself to go for it and worry about my foot later.

USA Gymnastics: Did you hit everything the way you wanted?
Samantha: I don't think I ever hit everything the way I want. I always think there is room for improvement and that is what I strive for each time I do a routine.

USA Gymnastics: What happened to your foot?
Samantha: I injured my foot on the first day of workout in Montreal on a missed beam dismount. I got it checked out the day I returned from Montreal. I was hoping for good news but my foot turned out to be broken in two places. It is very frustrating because I have been working very hard on upgrades and this is a disappointing setback. I'll try to make the best of the situation and use the time to build strength in other areas.

USA Gymnastics: What is next for you?
Samantha: I will concentrate on working other areas that do not involve my foot. It is very frustrating, but I'm going to stay positive and get ready for the Visa Championships.

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite event?
Samantha: I don't have a favorite event. I love them all for different reasons.

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite skill?
Samantha: I really enjoy working on new releases on bars.

USA Gymnastics: Did you get to do anything in Montreal other than the gymnastics competition?
Samantha: We didn't have an opportunity to tour Montreal on this trip. Though, being from California, it was really nice to see the snow. I also enjoyed seeing friends from other countries.

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of the trip?
Samantha: The best part was being in Montreal with both of my club teammates, Hallie (Mossett) and Mattie (Larson). It was great that we were all able to have that experience together.

USA Gymnastics: What are your goals for the future?
Samantha: My immediate future goals are to get healthy and continue working on upgrading my routines. I hope to do well at Visa Championships this summer in Dallas. My ultimate goal is to compete for the U.S. in world competitions and the 2012 Olympic Games. That would be a dream come true.

USA Gymnastics: Tell me about school. Do you go to a regular school or home school?
Samantha: I go to a truly wonderful school, Windward School in Los Angeles. The administration and teachers are so supportive of all the students. My friends at school are fantastic and very helpful when I have to miss school for camps and competitions.

USA Gymnastics: Can you walk me through a typical day.
Samantha: I wake up at 7:00 a.m. I attend school from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. My workout is from 1:00-8:00 p.m. with an hour break. (On Thursdays and Saturdays my workouts are shorter.) When I get home from the gym, I eat dinner with my family and then start my homework.

USA Gymnastics: Tell me about your coaches - Galina Marinova and Artur Akopyan?
Samantha: I have been with Galina since I started gymnastics in a pre-school class at age 3. Artur began working with me when I was 10 years old. I feel so fortunate that I am in such good hands with great coaches.

USA Gymnastics: What do you like to do when you are not in the gym?
Samantha: I love to dance, hang out with friends and family, go to Dodger games, listen to music, spend time at the beach, and go to the movies.

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite food?
Samantha: Bananas!

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite TV show?
Samantha: So You Think You Can Dance and Friends.

USA Gymnastics: What has been your favorite vacation?
Samantha: Catalina Island for the 4th of July. Catalina is a little island just off the coast of Southern California, but I feel like I'm a million miles away when I'm there.