Shirley W. Places 13th in Suzuki World Cup Gymnastics Representing USA

Some students wonder whether or not to participate in a sport. For 8th grader Shirly W., however, there’s no question.  Shirley is an extremely talented athlete who does gymnastics. She moved here from China several months ago, where she also participated in rhythmic gymnastics. 

Shirley practices around four days a week and receives support from her family, coaches, and others. She recently practiced in the Pan American Competition, Olympic-type games for the countries of North, South, and Central America, along with the Caribbean. She says it was just a practice, and they weren’t placed, but being allowed to compete at all is very impressive. 

In China, Shirley is a level four gymnast, but moving from China to the US makes her level unclear. She has been doing gymnastics for eight years and has done aerobic gymnastics, aerobics, and rhythmic gymnastics. 

“When I was in China, I competed for my school,” explained Shirley. “We have [an] opening before the competition, and every athlete presents their country.”  

She competes as a solo act, representing her school and Shanghai when in China and now the US. 

Before most competitions, Shirley practices from morning until it is time to compete, usually in the afternoon. The next day, she repeats the same thing as there are two parts to the competition, and the first competition is to narrow down the competitors, so when the second competition comes around, they only have the best of the best. 

Although it takes a lot of her time, Shirly says it hasn’t negatively impacted her grades. She balances the time between the two. 

“When I’m practicing, I will focus on this(sic), and when I go to school, I can be more efficient.”

In April, Shirley attended the Suzuki World Cup 2023 in Japan, Tokyo, where she represented the USA as an Individual Junior Woman.  She placed 13th in the competition.   Her coaches and family are very proud, but Shirley is modest, saying she has much to work on.  

“I can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m great,’ I can’t say that,” she said.  “I still have much space to improve myself.”