Wisconsin native Chellsie Memmel was a member of the United States women’s gymnastics team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Since then, she has stayed active in the world of competitive gymnastics, even making a comeback last year at the age of 32.
As the Tokyo Olympics approach, Memmel spoke with Libby Collins on this week’s episode of WTMJ Conversations.
A portion of the conversation was transcribed by eCourt Reporters, Inc.
LIBBY COLLINS: You went back to normal life. You got married, you had two kids.
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yep. Yep.
LIBBY COLLINS: And here, this year, you said, “I think I’m going to try it again.”
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yeah.
LIBBY COLLINS: Ten years away from competition almost. How did you make that decision?
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: It was not one I made lightly. And it just — it started as wanting to get in shape after my kids and then just was having so much fun doing it and doing gymnastics again. And, you know, I was the last one to say, all right, I’m going to come back, I’m going to try to actually compete instead of just, you know, playing around in the gym. That — it was a lot, and it was very, you know, emotional signing up as an athlete again. And then emotional again like, oh, my gosh, my sister signed me up for my first competition, and I was like, okay, I’m, like, doing this. So, it was — it was a lot, but it’s been quite the journey.
LIBBY COLLINS: But how many other 30-year-olds are doing that?
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Not too many. I don’t know if there’s many in our country that are trying to be at, you know, at the elite level. There are some more internationally that are doing it, but — but, yeah.
LIBBY COLLINS: But, I mean, a lot of them are half your age, literally.
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yes. Yes.
LIBBY COLLINS: What’s that emotion as you’re kind of looking at them saying, yeah, I remember when I was 15, 16 years old doing this?
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yeah.
LIBBY COLLINS: And here you are 32 at the time.
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yes, I was. You know, I try not to look at an age too much, but it is, I’m like, yep, you were not alive when I was at my first world championship, and that’s fine.
LIBBY COLLINS: Do you think it would have been different had the Olympics been held last year instead of this year? If they hadn’t been delayed for the pandemic, do you think it might have had a little different outcome for you?
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Oh, absolutely. I don’t even think I would have even given it a shot. There was not enough time.
LIBBY COLLINS: Oh, really. So —
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: Yes.
LIBBY COLLINS: — now you’ve got three more years to think about it, do you think you’ll try to come back one more time?
CHELLSIE MEMMEL: I don’t know. Three years is a long time. But I’m — like I said, I’m now, for me, this part has been about the joy of doing it and not just focusing specifically on a goal of making a team like that again. If I’m enjoying it — because actually, my husband and I we’re just on a walk, he’s like, you know, we’ve never actually talked about, like, how long you’re going to do this. And I’m like, honestly, I don’t really know because I was like, I’m having fun. I want to do it if I can and if my body allows me and if I’m still having fun. You know, if I stop enjoying it, that’s — you know, obviously then it would be time.