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Memmel Giving It One Last Shot
(15 votes, average 4.60 out of 5)

Chellsie Memmel is not ready to quit. Not just yet, anyway. And even though she led the U.S. to its first world team title in 2003 (and also tied for the gold on uneven bars), she faced immeasurable disappointment the following year when a broken foot spoiled her Olympic dreams.

She rebounded to make the 2008 Olympic team, placing third at both the U.S. championships and Olympic trials. But an ankle injury limited her to one event, uneven bars, in Beijing, where the world champion U.S. women won the silver.

"It wasn't quite the experience I had in mind, but I was still happy to be there, happy to at least do a bar routine to help the team get a medal," Memmel told IG.

Memmel looked excellent on balance beam and floor exercise last summer at the Visa championships, but she tweaked her surgically repaired right shoulder on uneven bars and had to withdraw on day two. After attending two training camps between the championships and 2011 world championships, she had shoulder surgery Sept. 23.

Memmel, 23, had another surgery on the shoulder Feb. 13.

"There was some debris in there that was causing pain when I was doing all my overhead stuff," she said, adding that the procedure should keep her out for a few weeks.

As for her chances of making the 2012 Olympic team, which will comprise five gymnasts instead of the usual six, Memmel is trying not to look too far ahead. She doesn't want to consider her life without gymnastics just yet.

"I have mixed emotions, to be honest," she said. "But I'm just trying to stay positive because it's still something that I want to do. But I just have to take it a day at a time."

Memmel's plans for the immediate future include returning to national team training camps, and competing in the CoverGirl Classic. If all goes well, she'll move on to the pressure-cooker of another Olympic team qualification process. It's either that or call it quits.

"It's hard to think about retiring," she said. "I've been prepared for it, because I've taken a break from gymnastics, but [it] was always like, 'I can come back to it.' But I know for sure that this would be the last go for me."

Though she and her sister are coaches at their parents' gym (M & M Gymnastics) in New Berlin, Wis., Memmel is not ready to take over the family business either. Instead, she would like to finally go to college.

"It's a big world out there, and there are so many different things that you can do," she said. "And I always liked school, and it is something I want to do."

For the coming months, however, she will focus on reaching whatever potential is possible under the circumstances. Only then will she consider the alternative.

"I love doing [gymnastics] so much," she said, a hint of sadness in her voice. "There is always going to be an emptiness there [when I retire], but life goes on … but it will be difficult."

Comments (6)add comment

ali raouf said:

February 16, 2012
Votes: +6

dragonair said:

if only porgras had this way of thinking and such a determination...

I really wish that memmel makes the team, she is one of the hardest workers in the history of gymnastics, she keeps trying and is always coming back, she's just having a really bad luck.
I have a HUGE respect for her and really wish her all the luck in this world (not just in gymnastics but in her future life as well).
February 17, 2012
Votes: +15

Margaret Tudor said:

I don't see why Porgras should 'have this way of thinking'. Some people know the limits of their bodies. Perhaps Porgas wants to be whole going into her 30's. Chellsie's had a great run. I think she should listen to her body and move on. She keeps getting hurt, recovering, and getting hurt again with surgeries in between. There are more important things in life that elite sport and perhaps Ana Porgras is mature enough to realize that.
February 17, 2012
Votes: +3

patti said:

you go girl
i hope chellsie gets on the team healthy this time. i will be especially happy since i live in milwaukee and i feel that she is like a hometown girl
February 18, 2012
Votes: +0

dragonair said:

porgras looked like she gave up way before she retired.
whatever competition she entered in 2011 she just didn't seem to give her best, she looked bored. and her injuries weren't really that serious to quit. I have no problem with her quitting, I have a problem understanding why she did it so close to olympics.
look at memmel - she had way more injuries and was really unlucky around olympics and she is still trying, while porgras blew up her chance on her own.
when she had a determination she was able not only to come back quickly but to come back even stronger than before...just looked ana porgras at euros 2011 and at worlds 2011 - totally different person.
if porgras had back problems or some really serious injuries I'd understand her decision, but it's not like a broken ankle or minor elbow injury will make you a disabled person in near future.

that's the big difference between those two athletes.
February 21, 2012
Votes: +1

Hayley said:

Chellsie is an incredible gymnast and it's such a shame that she's had so much bad luck. She's managed to achieve some great things throughout the years (World Champion!) but probably still feels like she's not fulfilled her Olympic dreams due to all her injuries. I think it's amazing how she is still going and I wish her the best of luck for this coming year.
March 03, 2012
Votes: +1

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