Corrie Lothrop was a member of the U.S. national team and served as an alternate to the 2008 Olympic team. She has a beam skill named for her (the Lothrop is a switch-leg side aerial). She was the inaugural Pac-12 all-around champion, a three-year team captain, and was named NCAA All-American multiple times for the University of Utah. She also was named Utah’s most inspirational Senior Female Student Athlete.
The Gymternet special guest correspondent Rae Ann Chrane caught up with Corrie, who spoke to gymnasts at the National High School Gymnastics Association’s Senior Showcase Invitational.
Do you have an early memory of gymnastics?
I remember learning to do front giants and I kept falling because my hands were too small to hold onto the bar.
What advice do you have for young gymnasts?
Make sure to always have fun. Find the fun in it.
Talk about the transition of leaving your home club Yellow Jackets in Massachusetts to train elite at Hill’s Gymnastics in Maryland.
It was different but was probably the easiest transition I made compared with ones I made later like going off to college. The girls at the gym were welcoming. I was home schooled the first year but I missed the social interaction of being in a classroom and did go back to a high school later on.
What countries did you visit as an elite gymnast?
When I competed in Canada at my first international meet for Team USA I forgot my floor pattern during the meet and tried to do a front handspring front full in a small space. That was interesting. My coach said “what the heck?!” I never did that again. When we were competing in international meet assignments we didn’t always have time to see a lot of the country but when we were in France we got to eat dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I also competed in Germany and in Argentina where I was excited that they used AI equipment like I was used to at home.
What was it like to be an alternate for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing?
The alternates were waiting in Japan. We were a little disconnected from the other team members in Beijing but we did all the same training and workouts they did with the coaches who were with us. Marta Karolyi and the other coordinators checked in by video. I was there with Jana Bieger and Ivana Hong.
Is there a member of the Beijing team that you look up to or learned from?
I take a lot from Sam Peszek. She was competing for UCLA when I was with Utah. I watch her work in broadcast as a color coordinator for the Pac 12 Network and doing leadership presentations for the NCAA. And of course, I follow Alicia Sacramone because we are Region 6 girls from Massachusetts!
What made you pick Utah and the Red Rocks for college?
They have an incredible fan base and team environment. A lot of their fans travel to every meet…even the away ones.
What is the time management like in college gymnastics?
Freshmen participate in study table the first semester – if you get a 3.50 or better you no longer have to do that. A lot of the girls now maintain a 4.0 GPA. We did about 20 hours of training a week which included team meetings when I was there compared with 36-40 hours a week as an elite gymnast. In elite you may have trained more and competed less but as a college gymnast you compete almost every week and your body needs that recovery time. We also visited elementary schools a lot to read or talk to kids and the whole team would go. Our upperclassmen were good with bringing the freshmen along so we didn’t have any stragglers.
How did you cheer on your team?
A lot of my celebrations at meets were kind of crazy and you can still see them on YouTube. I got really comfortable there during my senior and super senior year. I jumped so high or I almost fell into a split. I needed teammates to catch me because I was so excited.
What have the bumper crop of Olympians competing in the NCAA this year brought to the sport?
The former Olympians and girls like Maggie Nichols have brought a lot of attention to NCAA gymnastics and are helping grow the sport. Fans love to see those big names.
You tore your Achilles tendon and went through the red shirt process. How did that change you?
I had to take a more supportive role when I was out with the torn Achilles. It made me appreciate things more on the team.
There is so much focus on leotard design now in the NCAA – did you have a favorite leotard?
We had a black leotard that had a feather and drum done in white crystals. The drum had a big U in the middle in red crystals. That was a good luck leo for us.
What are you doing now?
I’m going to graduate school at Auburn and I’m working on a Masters in Communications. I worked for the Athletic Department when I was at Utah doing Athletic Events and they suggested a Masters would take me where I want to go long term. I’m a volunteer graduate assistant with Auburn’s Gymnastics team.
Describe your experience as a volunteer assistant.
This year as a volunteer assistant I was responsible for setting up the gym. The assistants helped with mat moving and with keeping the gym clean. The coaches are the primary ones giving feedback and direction. If someone asked me a question I could give advice on how I might have handled a particular situation, however.
What attracted you to Auburn?
I was excited to experience being a part of an SEC team. The conference has so many top rated teams ranked in the top 25 in the country. I wanted to see how the SEC experience was different from the Pac 12.
Talk about your long term plans.
After I finish my Masters in Communications I would like to try out for Cirque de Soleil and maybe live in Vegas. When I finished my college gymnastics career I needed to give my body a rest – there is only so much rehab and treatments you can do – but I want to train again and audition for Cirque. After performing for Cirque, I’d like to maybe work in their marketing department.
What is your advice for college students?
Going off to college is a great time in your life. Make sure you grow and learn about yourself. Be yourself. Don’t change for anyone because they aren’t going to change for you.
Thanks, Corrie, and best of luck with everything!
Article by Rae Ann Chrane