Memmel Wants a Chance at Gold
By Alexa Ainsworth, Universal Sports
Chellsie Memmel is set to compete at CoverGirl Classic later this month after nearly two years away from elite competition. The 2005 world all-around champion spoke with UniversalSports.com about the nerves, an unexpected setback caused by her sister’s dog, and how she feels with just over one year until London 2012.
You have done a few smaller competitions, but what are you feeling now just weeks away from CoverGirl Classic?
I’m definitely nervous. It’s my first time getting back out on the big stage in two years. The last time I competed was 2009, but that was only one event, beam at Championships. Before that, the last time I competed all-around was  Olympic trials.
Are you already feeling the nerves, or is that something that happens once you actually arrive at the meet?
I’m feeling it already. I’ll be honest about that, but training is going well. I know I’m not going to be in top form right away because that’s not the training plan – to be the best at Classics. It’s the first stepping stone. Classics, then Championships, then selection camp.
Why did you decide to come back and put yourself through the pressure of competition again?
I like everything about this sport. Competing for me is a huge adrenaline rush. Showing people what you can do and vying for a spot on the team to represent your country – that’s an amazing thing to be able to do.
What goals have you set for yourself at CoverGirl Classic?
I want to get some confidence walking away from Classics. I have three more solid weeks of training between Classics and Championships. A lot can be improved in three weeks. I just want to go out and be able to feel confident after I’m done – and qualify! This is my way of getting to Championships.
Several of your Beijing teammates are in various stages of their own comebacks. Is that exciting for you?
It’s really cool. I think it shows a lot about us as a country that we want to do our best and vie for that gold medal that we didn’t quite get in Beijing. I think that’s a lot of the reason why we are coming back. It only makes for a stronger team if there can be some veterans a part of it.
When did you fully commit to your own comeback?
At first I was just playing around and then I really had to prove to my dad [who is her coach] that I wanted to do it again. It had to come from me first. He wasn’t like, ‘Okay let’s get going,’ it was, ‘Show me that you want to do this’ and then I will put together training plans.
It would have been a waste of both of our time and there would have been a lot of friction if we both weren’t on the same page. I think it started getting more serious in February. I was in the gym since October/November, but that was still testing the water. Even in the past month a lot more has come together. I got to see his training plan and think – this really works.