Patriot Profile: Felicia Yan makes a name in rhythmic gymnastics

Siri Christopherson, Staff Writer

If you know Felicia Yan, you probably know that she’s at the top of the sophomore class and insanely smart. But you may not be aware that outside of her academic success, she is also a talented athlete who competes nationally in a sport called rhythmic gymnastics, which combines ballet and gymnastics and often uses props such as ribbons, hoops, and balls.
“I started out in regular gymnastics, and I also did ballet when I was younger,” Yan said. “We didn’t have rhythmic in Phoenix, but after we moved to Washington, I started rhythmics because I always knew about it.”
She has practice at Evergreen Rhythmics, her home gym, five times a week, and competes once or twice a month in categories based on training level, which goes up to ten. Yan trains at level nine, and is also a trainer for lower levels.
Practicing for four hours a day, four days a week, sounds like enough as it is, but competitions—the real deal—are far more chaotic, Yan said.
“Sometimes it’ll run late, sometimes it’ll run early,” Yan said. “We have time warm-ups, which is when you get to practice on the floor. And then it’s the competition, and you get a score based on your execution and difficulty.”
Yan is a three-time state champion looking to make that four in the Washington state meet this March. She is also a one-time National Junior Olympics champion, which she won as a level seven gymnast in 2013. Now, as a level nine gymnast, she is looking towards the USA Championships in June.
“As level nine you can attend national qualifiers to qualify to nationals,” Yan said. “But it’s the same week as finals week, so I might not go.”
In the future, Yan hopes to continue her training, but explained that as school interferes more and more, she wants to go into coaching and judging more than practicing. She already helps coach level four gymnasts, and enjoys working with the younger girls.
“I love working with little kids because it allows me to pass on my knowledge to them, and it’s great to see them learn and grow as athletes,” Yan said. “It also helps me grow as a person ’cause I learn a lot from them too. Aka the virtue of patience.”