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Alderman brings heart and humility to gymnastics

Senior All-Around gymnast Erin Alderman said she strives to put her heart and faith into everything she does, both in and out of the gym. Beginning her gymnastics journey at the age of three, Alderman said she pushes herself to be better for the little girls just starting out like she once was.

A record-setter who helped her team win the 2017 USA Collegiate National Championship, Alderman credits her family, coaches and team for her success. Training roughly 20 hours a week and studying for her Communication Sciences and Disorders degree keep Alderman busy, but she balances the rigor by keeping humility, faith and perseverance  at the forefront every day.

Although Alderman has received many honors in her career as a gymnast, she quickly acknowledges many people have contributed to her success.

“I couldn’t do it without my teammates and my coaches,” she said. “They help encourage me on my hard days and push me to become better, and we just all feed off each other.”

Keeping up with competitions, training and coursework can become hectic and discouraging, but Alderman said she makes a point of remembering the reason she strives daily to be better in the gym and classroom.

“You always remember why you do it. We talk about our ‘whys’ sometimes at practice, and a big part of my why is for the little girls—that’s who I was when I was younger, looking up to the older ones. I do it for them,” Alderman said.

Alderman said a broken leg in eighth grade–that resulted in a year off gymnastics to recover—caused her to question whether she wanted to continue with the sport. She noted that after encouragement from her parents and coach to  get her level-eight skills and strength back, however, Alderman knew she was there to stay. “I fell back in love with it and decided I wanted to continue to do it—and the next year, I started the recruiting process,” she said.

Alderman said being a part of the 2017 Nationals championship team and setting records in gymnastics are achievements she is proud of, but these are not the accomplishments that top her list. Instead, what she considers her greatest successes involve people, relationships and service rather than statistics.

“I am proud of the way I love others and help others—and the relationships I have built, especially here in the community,” she said. “I remember when I came here my freshman year, I was like: ‘This is so stressful. I have to make all these new relationships, and no one knows who I am.’”

Through her gymnastics and campus involvement, Alderman has overcome those challenges. She said she is proud of her work with the campus ministry and of “having so many people to care for and love on.”

Alderman expressed gratitude for the challenges and lessons gymnastics has taught her. “One of my favorite things about gymnastics is the challenge it brings—and the opportunity it gives me to learn how to persevere, and work hard, and manage my time.” Alderman also named leadership, humility, discipline and the relationships she has gained through the sport as meaningful gains thanks to gymnastics. 

Alderman said she looks forward to graduate school and her last year of eligibility as a collegiate gymnast.

However: “A big thing I have learned in college is gymnastics is just a part of my life. It’s not my life,” Alderman said. She has found a way to apply that lesson: “Surrounding myself with other people who pour into me as a person, not just as a gymnast.”

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