Norah Flatley, a two-time United States national team member who represented the country internationally three times as a junior, has announced her retirement from elite gymnastics after struggling to return from multiple injuries that have kept her out of the sport for over two years.
On Instagram, the 17-year-old from Chow’s Gymnastics thanked USA Gymnastics, her parents, her coaches, and her fans for all of their support over the years before sharing that she’ll compete level 10 in 2018 before going off to UCLA, where she has a full-ride NCAA scholarship, in the fall.
“Chow and Li, I can not put into words the gratitude I have for you both,” Flatley wrote on Instagram. “They have been like second parents to me and shaped me into the person and gymnast I am today. Thank you for always believing in me and helping me achieve my dreams. Thank you for pushing me every single day to be the best I can be. Thank you for teaching me to always have high standards in everything I do. Even after all the injuries you both have stayed by my side and given me confidence that I can come back from any obstacle that is put in front of me. I am forever grateful for my coaches.”
In her elite career, which began in 2013, Flatley managed to capture the hearts of fans across the globe. She made a splash placing fourth all-around and winning the beam title at her very first competition, the U.S. Classic in the summer of 2013, and she went on to place fifth all-around and second on beam at nationals that summer, cementing herself as one of the top juniors in the country as she earned her first national team berth.
Flatley won the bronze all-around medal at the City of Jesolo Trophy in 2014, and then placed third at Pacific Rim Championships a month later, though she couldn’t accept the medal due to the two-per-country rule. She was the beam champion at both of those meets and at the U.S. Classic that summer, where she also won the bronze all-around medal, a feat she repeated at nationals a month later.
Our last glimpse of Flatley was in 2015, when she returned for her second City of Jesolo Trophy in her final junior season, winning the silver medal in the all-around and on bars before defending her beam title, getting the gold with a 14.95.
She was expected to contend for the junior national title that summer before going on to fight for a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team, where her killer beam could’ve been her ticket in what was shaping up to be a weak beam field. Unfortunately, though, she faced her first of many injuries that summer and despite many hopeful moments where a comeback looked possible — including a return to the national team camps earlier this year — she just wasn’t able to recover to the point of getting back to the elite level.
It seems insane that Flatley never got a chance to compete for a major international team given her buckets full of talent and poise, but I’m sure she’ll bring an unparalleled level of beauty to her final J.O. season before winding up at UCLA, where she’ll join coach Valorie Kondos-Field and fellow former elites Kyla Ross, Katelyn Ohashi, Madison Kocian, Macy Toronjo, and Felicia Hano.
We wish the best of luck to Norah as she ends this stage of her career and moves on into the next.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
This post was made possible thanks to our amazing patrons who help us fund things like travel and video production as we work to grow the site. This month’s patrons: April, Dodi Blumstein, Wendy Bruce, Kelly Byrd, Jillian Cohen, Kristyn Cozier, Holly Glymour, Hydrick Harden, Inaya, Lauren Jade, Alexis Johnston, Sarah Keegan, Jenny Kreiss, Rae Lemke Sprung, Leigh Linden, Annabelle McCombe, Bridget McNulty, Cindy McWilliams, Alison Melko, Emily Minehart, Eyleen Mund, Melanie Oechsner, Jessica Olaiya, Cordelia Price, Abbey Richards, Kaitlyn Schaefer, Lisa Schmidt, Brian Schwegman, Stephanie, Lucia Tang, Rachel Walsh, and Jenny Zaidi. THANK YOU!
Want to help out and qualify for super fun rewards for as little as $1/month? Check us out on Patreon!