Elizabeth Price chose Stanford over the possibility of the 2016 Olympics, and she’s prepared never to compete in elite gymnastics again, despite recent success in international competitions.
“I never really planned on going to Rio,” said Price, an alternate for the 2012 Olympic Team who announced her retirement from the U.S. National Team last week. “It would have been a huge experience if I had gotten to go to the Olympics, or if I were to go in 2016. … But I don’t think that there will be any regret or anything for me not going.”
Price, 17, won the American Cup all-around title March 1 and the Pacific Rim Championships all-around April 9, beating 2012 Olympian and 2013 World Championships all-around silver medalist Kyla Ross in the latter.
Price, who signed a letter of intent to Stanford in November, said she thought more and more beginning in January about enrolling this fall rather than deferring. She made her decision earlier this month, before competing at the Pacific Rims in Richmond, B.C.
Winning the American Cup, Pacific Rims and the International Gymnastics Federation’s World Cup series title for 2013-14 made little impact on her choice.
“Even though it made me a better competitor, it was really a decision that I wanted to move on from gymnastics,” the Coopersburg, Pa., native said. “I felt like I had accomplished everything I wanted to with my elite gymnastics career.”
Price would have been a favorite to make the U.S. team for the World Championships in Nanning, China, in October, had she not retired from elite competition.
“I don’t think worlds would make me feel any better of how well I did [as an elite gymnast],” she said.
Price said U.S. National Team director Martha Karolyi was disappointed to lose her but understood the decision.
Price also considered going to school at Alabama and Florida, which have won or shared the last four NCAA Championships. Stanford has never won an NCAA title.
She plans to study biomedical engineering in Palo Alto, Calif., and doesn’t expect to return to elite competition after college.
“Once I’m done, I’m done,” Price said.