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Sunday, June 23, 2024
<p>Gators gymnast Marissa King posted season highs on beam (9.95) and bars (9.925) in No. 1 Florida’s win against No. 3 Georgia last week.</p>

Gators gymnast Marissa King posted season highs on beam (9.95) and bars (9.925) in No. 1 Florida’s win against No. 3 Georgia last week.


After UF’s meet against LSU on Feb. 10, Marissa King looked bothered.

Her team posted the nation’s highest score in a 197.85-196.85 victory, but something wasn’t right about King’s demeanor.

“The whole week (before LSU), something was off,” King said. “I couldn’t tell you what it was.”

Against Alabama a week earlier, King, a junior, found herself in a midseason funk. Coach Rhonda Faehn said she believes it began right before facing the Crimson Tide.

“She had an absolutely terrible warm-up at Alabama,” Faehn said. “It was atrocious. I was ready to pull her. She probably doesn’t know that.”

Following the 197.725-196.900 loss to the Tide, King’s personal struggles only intensified.

A usually rambunctious King was oddly quiet throughout a rough week of practice. Also, her old bad habits from elite-level competition were manifesting back into her routines.

“Everyone’s human,” King said. “You’re going to have emotional fluctuations. I was a little bit down on myself and I really don’t know why.”

King admits she entered the LSU meet with the wrong mindset.

She lost her balance on her vault landing early, posting a 9.725, but still managed to finish the day with an all-around score of 39.40 to tie for third overall.

On her final event, floor exercise, King suffered  stingers in both of her ankles after landing awkwardly on a double layout. While she tallied a season-best 9.925 against the Tigers, she was unsatisfied.

“[My floor routine] may have looked good, but personally, I didn’t achieve much,” King said. “I didn’t really feel like I competed my heart out with passion.”

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The next morning, King vented her personal issues to her parents via Skype. A few days later, King had a one-on-one conversation with Faehn to discuss moving past the difficult point in time.

Rest also proved to be key in uplifting King’s spirits. At Auburn on Feb. 17, King sat out vault and floor to ease the pain in her ankles. She posted a 9.9 on uneven bars and a 9.95 on balance beam in limited action.

“The rest was wonderful,” she said.

When No. 1 Florida defeated No. 3 Georgia 197.525-196.825 last Friday in the O’Connell Center, King appeared to be mentally and physically refreshed, screaming and supporting her teammates.

“Our team just eats it up because they feed off of that energy and enthusiasm,” Faehn said.

That night, King had her share of mistakes, stumbling on vault (9.775) and stepping out of bounds on floor (9.8).

Still, she scored season highs of 9.95 on beam and 9.925 on bars to win both event titles.  

After her beam dismount, a confident King held her pose for a couple of seconds just so the crowd and the judges could get the message.

“I was back to myself,” King said.

Gators gymnast Marissa King posted season highs on beam (9.95) and bars (9.925) in No. 1 Florida’s win against No. 3 Georgia last week.


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