Athleticism in UA GymCat's blood
Having a very athletic family could cause pressure, but for Arizona GymCat Christina Berg, there was only support.
Her grandfather was a football player at St. Ambrose University and later an athletic director and coach; her dad played basketball, football and baseball in high school and continued on to play baseball for Memphis State University; her sister was a gymnast at Michigan State University; her other sister did gymnastics until high school; and her brother played football at community college for two years.
“No matter where I travel to, I will always have my family watching me live or on TV,” Berg said. “They understand the commitment level and hard work it takes to be a college athlete, which helps.”
Because her siblings and she were never in the same level because they are much older, being competitive was not an option. However, she did always try to top what her sister did when she was her age.
Athleticism is in her blood; she followed the footsteps of both of her sisters and began gymnastics at age 3.
“They would flip me around and help me learn new skills before I even entered the sport. I used to set up furniture in the living room and swing on a pull up bar, pretending to be at gymnastics meets,” the UA junior said. “My mom knew I had to be put in this sport, with all of my energy and talent at a young age.”
Her family has shaped her into who she is today.
“I could not imagine where I would be without the constant support from both my parents and my siblings,” Berg said. “They have been by my side since day one and continue to watch my journey through the NCAA.”
College gymnastics was Berg’s dream since she began the sport. She wanted to get the experience of doing the sport for not only a team but a Division I school.
There were obstacles that Berg has had to overcome throughout her career. At her very first gymnastics meet, she had to sit out because she was not old enough to compete. She was 5 years old, and the age requirement was 6.
Her biggest challenge has been dealing with injuries. She has had five surgeries since she was 12 years old, including three elbow surgeries and two hip surgeries.
“It has not been an easy road,” Berg said. “Hearing you need surgery at age 12 is not something that sounds promising for the future, and neither does a surgery at age 20.”
Having this many surgeries has held her back with gymnastics, as she only does bars and floor and has limited training days.
“My dream was always to do all around; however, I am giving all I have on the two events I do to make up for it. I have overcome all the injuries that have been thrown my way, thanks to lots of rehab, doctors’ visits and dedication,” Berg said.
Berg is from Tinley Park, Illinois. Along with gymnastics, she received the Scholastic All-American Award in 2018 as well as served as the team captain. She also volunteers at AZ Health Zone once a week, working with kids to help promote fitness and nutrition education, as her aspiration for the future is to become a physician’s assistant and work with an orthopedic surgeon to help athletes like her recover and get back to their sport.
Through her years of club gymnastics, she qualified for seven Junior Olympics National Championships (2010-2016) and placed as a JO National Team Member in 2016.
This season, she has received two new career high scores on bars (9.925) and floor (9.9), along with several first-place scores on each.
She said she is most proud of the leader she has become.
“My goal every day is to be the loudest voice in the gym and put a smile on at least one person’s face. My hard-working and consistent personality is one that leads the team,” Berg said. “I love supporting and helping my teammates be the best athletes and people they can be. No matter if it is a good or bad day, I want my teammates to be able to have someone that they look up to and trust.”
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