2009 World Championships all-around champion
and 2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan
of Pittsboro, Ind., signed a national letter of
intent with the University of Florida gymnastics team, UF Head Coach Rhonda
Faehn announced Wednesday. Sloan will defer enrollment at UF until fall
of2012 as she will seek her second consecutive spot on the U.S. team for the
2012 Summer Olympics, set for July 28-August 7 in London, England.
“Making this decision was by
far one of the hardest of my life, and I took a long time and put a lot of
thought into it, but it came down to where I felt the most comfortable,” said
Sloan. “Florida seemed like the best place for me academically and for
gymnastics, and I’m excited to be a Gator.”
At 16, Sloan was the youngest
member of the U.S.’s silver medal-winning team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in
Beijing, China. She finished 11th overall in the all-around during team
qualifying competition and contributed a 15.200 vault score in the team final.
Sloan (far right) and Gator freshman Mackenzie Caquatto (second from left)
were part of the U.S team which claimed the silver medal at the 2010 World
Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The next year, Sloan shined on the sport’s
biggest stage as she led a U.S. sweep of the top two spots in World
Championships’ all-around competition. Sloan claimed the 2009 World
Championship all-around gold with a total of 57.825, while teammate Rebecca
Bross was runner-up at 57.775. She is the fifth U.S. woman to claim World
Championships’ all-around gold and will be the first World all-around champion
to compete collegiate gymnastics.
“Bridget’s accolades speak for themselves.
She is one of the most accomplished gymnasts in the world,” Faehn said.
“Bridget will bring exquisite artistry from her Olympic and world competitive
experience into collegiate gymnastics. She was undoubtedly the number one
recruit in the country and we are thrilled that she is going to be a Gator.”
Sloan will rejoin 2010 World Championship
teammate Mackenzie Caquatto on the Florida team. She’s represented the
U.S. National Team in 14 international competitions, including on the U.S.’s
2010, 2009 and 2007 (reserve athlete) World Championship teams. She’s claimed
six Visa Championship medals (gold for 2009 all-around, uneven bars and floor;
silver for 2007 floor; bronze for 2008 bars and 2006 beam).
She is an honor roll student at Tri-West High
School in Lizton, Ind., and will graduate this spring. Sloan trains at Sharp’s
Gymnastics Academy in Indianapolis under coach Marvin Sharp.
Information from USA Gymnastics contributed to this report
Photos by John Cheng