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Valorie Kondos-Field Let Her Gymnasts Feel Her Malignant Breast Tumor (USA)

Valorie Kondos-Field never planned on becoming a gymnastics coach. She was trained in ballet and went onto perform with the Capital City Ballet in her hometown of Sacramento, Calif.?not exactly the professional and athletic background you?d expect from a woman who has led the UCLA?s women?s gymnastics team to six NCAA titles.

Kondos-Field?s first contact with collegiate gymnastics came in 1982 when she was 22. The ballet dancer was hired to work part-time with UCLA?s women?s gymnastics team. (It?s important to specify women?s because back in the 1980s, UCLA still had a men?s program that filled out the U.S. men?s national team much in the same way that Oklahoma?s NCAA men?s team currently does.)

?Kondos-Field eventually parlayed her stint as a part-time dance instructor into a full-time head coaching position with the team. This is the subject of a profile in the current issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Yet even after more than two decades in the position, Kondos-Field, by her own admission, really can?t teach you how to do a cartwheel. This is fine, because that?s not really what her job is about.

By the time most female gymnasts make it to college, they don?t have much gymnastics left to learn. Their skill sets are, more or less, set. Though some gymnasts will continue to train and add elements in college, most, especially those coming off of elite gymnastics career, will be focused on maintaining fitness rather than adding skills because NCAA women?s gymnastics requires less difficulty than either elite or Level 10 gymnastics. (Most NCAA gymnasts competed through Level 10 in J.O. gymnastics program in the U.S.)



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