Welcome back to Junior Introductions! This week, we’d like you to meet Charlize Mörz, a 14-year-old Austrian gymnast who wants to follow in her older sister Alissa’s footsteps and one day go to worlds.
Charlize made her elite-level debut when she was just 11 years old, at the international Elek Matolay Memorial competition in Hungary, placing seventh all-around and finishing sixth in the beam final.
Her national championships debut came later that year, with a sixth-place finish in the junior division. She’s also had strong finishes in both 2018 and 2019, earning a total of five apparatus medals across these two years, and she continued competing at small international meets, with her strongest performance coming at the Zelena Jama Open in Slovenia, where she finished second all-around on top of taking home three apparatus medals.
In 2019, Charlize became eligible to compete internationally as a junior, and she impressed enough at some smaller meets throughout the early half of the season to earn a spot on the European Youth Olympic Festival team, a big breakthrough for her career as it was for her sister Alissa two years earlier. As one of the youngest competitors in Baku, Charlize contributed three events in the team competition, and finished 49th all-around in qualifications, second-best among the three Austrians there.
Charlize and her older sister Alissa
Internationally, Charlize is at a pretty low level in terms of her skills, but for Austria – where gymnasts tend to reach their peak in their early 20s – she’s pretty much right on track. The focus right now seems to be on fine-tuning the more basic skills she’s currently competing, and then upgrading when she needs to as a senior, always a smart strategy. She’s also at a training facility that lacks a good deal of equipment, including foam pits and a regulation-size floor exercise mat, which undoubtedly hinders her, though she and her sisters (in addition to Alissa, she also has a younger sister named Collien, who made her elite debut last year) do the best they can with what they have.
Beam and floor are the events where Charlize is most up-to-speed. Her tumbling on floor includes a double pike, back 1½, and front full, and she also has some pretty promising dance elements in her routine, using her strength to easily attack both a split jump full and a tour jeté half. On beam, with everything credited, Charlize is at close to a 5.0 start value, but as with many young gymnasts, nerves make this event a little inconsistent for her. When she hits, however, this is where she often gets her strongest scores.
There have been several instances over the past few years where Austria has had to deal with so many injuries, they have barely a handful of senior-level athletes able to compete. Many of the country’s top juniors tend to drop off once they reach 16, so if Charlize simply sticks around to see through a senior career, simply adding to the country’s depth in itself will have an incredible impact. If she can continue building on her beam and floor talents, and then slowly increase her skill level on vault and bars, Charlize could absolutely become one of the seniors who regularly earns international assignments, especially as some of the country’s top seniors over the past few years are getting closer to retirement.
What to Watch
Here’s Charlize on floor at last year’s Pre-Olympic Youth Cup in Germany. it’s a pretty basic routine, and it’s not perfect, but I think it showcases her talent and potential well, and she even makes some Ksenia Afanasyeva-esque shapes with some of her choreography moments, which is always appreciated.
Meet More Juniors!
Miss any of our previous editions of Junior Introductions? Go back and read our most recent profiles featuring Tatiana Levchuk (Belarus), Ruby Stacey (Great Britain), Maily Planckeel (France), Paula Vega Tarrago (Germany), Maria Ceplinschi (Romania), and Lyu Junliang (China).
Article by Lauren Hopkins