Shayla Worley
© John Cheng

2007 World Championships team gold medalist Shayla Worley announced she is retiring from elite gymnastics and moving on to another chapter in her life, her collegiate career at the University of Georgia.

“After a lot of thought and talking to my family and coaches, I decided it would be best for my body and my gymnastics career to prepare for my collegiate season. I plan to start at the University of Georgia and compete on the Gym Dogs gymnastics team in the fall of 2009.”

Worley, 18, from Orlando, Fla., trains at Orlando Metro with coaches Jeff Wood and Christi Barineau. Worley’s biggest accomplishment in her elite gymnastics career was helping the U.S. women’s team make history by winning the first ever women’s gold medal at a World Championships outside the United States.

“The 2007 World Championships gold medal stands out in my mind for many reasons,” said Worley. “It was the best team ever, we made history, and it was an amazing feeling to accomplish something that big!”

Worley also sites being on the national team for the past seven years as another major accomplishment. She finished second all-around at the 2007 Visa Championships and third all-around at the 2005 Visa Championships in the junior division. Worley also finished second all-around at the 2006 Tyson American Cup. She made a run for the 2008 Olympic Team, but an injury during the selection event in Houston dashed her hopes for a team berth.

Worley added, “I wanted to try for another World Championships because I didn’t get to make the Olympic Team when I was injured at the Selection Camp. But another Worlds is not going to fill that void for me, so I decided to move on to the next chapter in my life. I’m now looking forward to competing in front of 10,000 people at home meets and winning a national championships title!”

When asked what she plans to study at the University of Georgia , she is undecided.

“I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll study. I will take general classes as a freshmen, but I may be interested in the entertainment field.”