Friday February 22, 2013Ashanée Dickerson: Leaves Behind Passion and Work Ethic
By Sarah Gibson, UF Communications
Nothing can be done without passion, according to senior gymnast Ashanée Dickerson.
Passion is something the eight-time All-American knows a thing or two about. Over the course of her college gymnastics career at Florida, Dickerson has shared her passion for gymnastics by delivering more than 180 routines to thousands of people. And during her Gator career, she’s won 66 event titles – a tally which shares fourth all-time among Florida gymnasts.
As she finishes her last season on the Gator gymnastics team, Dickerson reflects on her growth inside and outside of the gym.
“I’ve become a lot more energetic in gymnastics,” Dickerson said. “In my floor routines I smile more and make more facial expressions where as before I would just do the routine and not show my emotions.”
Through her four years, Dickerson has developed more confidence in herself in the gym and out.
“I have gained a lot more confidence in myself as a gymnast,” she said. “Outside of gymnastics I have become more comfortable speaking in public.”
During the season, each day one person finds an inspirational quote to share with the team. A word from the quote is pulled to motivate the team for that day’s practice or competition. Prior to the Arkansas meet, Dickerson chose a motivational quote about passion. She said doing this exercise every day not only motivates her in the gym but also helps bring the team together.
Dickerson’s ultimate goal in her last season is to help her team win a national championship after just narrowly missing the opportunity last season.
“We came back in the fall motivated to work hard and to go for that national championship,” she said. “We told the freshmen ‘this is the plan, this is what we want to do and this is how we are going to do it.’”
Winning a national championship would be the icing on the cake for Dickerson and her fellow teammates, but the team isn’t looking too far ahead just yet.
“We are taking it one competition at a time and week by week,” she said. “We focus in practice on what we did wrong the previous week and fix the mistakes in the next meet. If we keep doing that we get better and better.”
The team is also not dwelling on their stellar rankings this season.
“We put it aside and try not to get caught up in the rankings because if you do that then you will slack off,” Dickerson said. “We know we have made mistakes so we try to fix those and not worry about the rankings.”
Dickerson is committed to working hard to combat those mistakes and hopes that her work ethic has encouraged the team after she leaves.
“I hope that I have shown them how I work hard and how to lead by example,” she said. “I want the younger girls to know that if you work hard everyone follows you so you will motivate others to work hard too.”
After this season Dickerson plans to return home to Jacksonville for the summer to help coach at her old gym, Gymnastics Unlimited, where her 12-year-old niece is hopes to follow in her footsteps. In the fall, Dickerson will finish up her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. With an interest in criminal investigations, she hopes to work in the police force first and then work her way up to forensics. She plans to stay in Florida and make regular trips down to the O’Connell Center for meets.
Dickerson’s gymnastics career at Florida has exceeded all of her expectations, which started when she was an eight-year-old visiting the O’Connell Center for Gator home meets.
“This is exactly and more than what I thought it would be like so I am just grateful for my time here,” she said.
Years from now you may see Ashanée Dickerson back in the O’Connell Center on a regular basis but not in her orange and blue leotard; she’ll be cheering on her niece this time around.