Kyla Ross, the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team, has retired from elite gymnastics.
Ross reportedly mulled the decision for months and came to a conclusion after a January national team camp.
“Pretty much the past year has been a little bit difficult,” Ross said, according to the Orange County (Calif.) Register. “I know I’ve been thinking about it and just trying to understand and decide what I was going to do, so I thought coming into the new year I’d see how my feelings were and if I still had the drive and passion to pursue the Olympics. I went to the first training camp of the year and I just didn’t feel like my mind was in the right spot and I know that I didn’t want to go for the Olympics and put myself through all of it if my heart just wasn’t really there.”
Ross, then 15, made the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in her first year as a senior gymnast. She was the youngest U.S. Olympic gymnast since 1996.
She was the only U.S. woman to make all of the 2012 Olympic, 2013 Worlds and 2014 Worlds teams. She won silver and bronze in the all-around at the 2013 and 2014 Worlds behind gold medalist Simone Biles.
In 2015, Ross placed 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships and removed herself from consideration for the six-woman World Championships team.
No U.S. woman has made back-to-back Olympic gymnastics teams since 2000.
“I’ve been competing for a really long time,” Ross said, according to the newspaper. “I know in 2012 I was really new and I was excited to be a senior and I think that’s why I had a lot of success, but recently it’s just been a little bit more difficult and I just feel like my drive and motivation is not the same as it was before.”
Ross, who is expected to compete collegiately for UCLA, is the second member of the five-woman 2012 U.S. Olympic champion team to retire from elite gymnastics, joining Jordyn Wieber.
Olympic all-around champion Gabby Douglas and floor exercise gold medalist Aly Raisman returned to competition last year and made the World Championships team.
McKayla Maroney, the Olympic vault silver medalist, has not competed since 2013.
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Dear friends, Today I am officially announcing my retirement from elite gymnastics. This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life but I feel that my time as an elite gymnast has come to an end. I truly love the sport of gymnastics and I am so fortunate to have been able to accomplish my dreams with the help of my coaches, family, friends, and of course my amazing fans. Having the opportunity to represent the U.S. through gymnastics has been a great honor and experience I will cherish. I would like to thank everyone for all the amazing support I have received over my entire elite career. As I make this transition to collegiate gymnastics and this next chapter in my life, I hope to still inspire people to reach for their dreams! Sincerely, Kyla Ross