by @LeapTheAtlantic on August 26, 2016

Ruby Harrold
Age: 19
Club: The Academy
College: LSU
Favorite Event: Bars

Connect with Ruby:

  • At just 20 years old Ruby Harrold is a World, European and Commonwealth medallist.
  • She was a reserve athlete at the 2012 Olympic Games and became an olympian this summer in Rio competing for Team GB where the team placed 5th in the Team Final.
  • During her elite career Ruby trained at The Academy Gymnastics Club coached by Liz Kincaid.
  • Following the 2016 Olympics Ruby will start at Louisiana State University on a gymnastics scholarship and is expected to make a great impact for the LSU Tigers.

Follow Ruby's college career here  

We caught up with Rio Olympian and LSU freshman, Ruby Harrold, to talk about her Olympic experience and how she feels as she embarks
on her NCAA journey.

How did you find out about NCAA?
I've known about it since Becky Wing started competing for Stanford. I didn't really know what it was at first

How did you get recruited?
A college coach from LSU contacted me through my personal coach Liz. It took a lot of persuading as I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be for me because I would be so far away from home and in an environment that wasn't what I was used to. Liz persuaded me to go and visit and be open minded about it and after my first visit I decided it was definitely something I wanted to peruse

Did you take the SAT? How did you find it?
I did take an SAT test. I was very different to any other test I'd ever taken. I thought it was very long and quite difficult.

What or who inspired you to pursue your NCAA dreams?
Watching videos on YouTube and actually going to watch a competition made it clear that I wanted to be on the floor doing  college gymnastics

Why did you chose LSU?
They showed an interest in me and my gymnastics. I had a few other coaches contact my but LSU were very persistent. I also went to visit and the campus was beautiful and just a complete culture change to back at home. I liked that.

What are you most looking forward to about college in the US?
I'm most looking forward to just having some fun. Elite gymnastics can get very serious at times so learning how to chill and let your hair down at the same time as training hard in the gym is something I'm excited for.

What do you see as positives of doing both NCAA gymnastics and elite gymnastics?
You get to experence both side to gymnastics. It's also like a reward at the end. You've work so hard, given up so much in your life so far to be an elite gymnast you're rewarded at the end with a free college education and the opportunity to still continue to be a part of the sport

Are you worried about living away from home?
I am a little, just because it's so far away. I travel a lot anyway so I don't think I'll be too bad but I do think the first 6 months will be tough to adjust to

What are your goals as a student-athlete?
At the moment I don't really know what to expect. Probably just to have fun and focus on my degree for the time being, just while I find my feet and understand things a little better.

Do you think gymnasts in the UK have enough access to information and inspiration in regards to trying to follow the NCAA route?
Not at all. It's been good for me as I have competed on an international stage a lot so people know my name. But for other athletes who may have not competed to the same level haven't made a name for themselves. I know a few athletes who have wanted to pursue college gym and have found it very hard for coaches to be interested in them because they may be too far away or not 'on the scene'. If you know the right people to get in touch with, great. If you don't, it can be a hard task

Congratulations on an absolutely amazing performance Rio! How was your experience overall? And what was the highlight?
The experience was fantastic. It almost didn't feel like an olympic games when we were out on the floor. I have definately learned to soak up the atmosphere and not worry too much about my routines which is good. Sometimes you get to stressed out about your routines you forget to enjoy it

How does your body feel post Rio - are you taking any time off or are you straight back to training for LSU?
I am heading straight to LSU which I get home. I have about a 2 day turn around. I will miss the first week of classes but I think the plan is to have a bit of time just to let my body recover, still keeping up with cardio and maintaining a reasonable level of fitness