Ashanee Dickerson took to the corner of the mat at the start of her floor exercise. “Hottest in the Hood” by Red Cafe was blaring through the speakers. But more than the music accompanied her.
The bass dropped, and Bridget Sloan could be seen performing every move of Dickerson’s exercise.
“Bridget likes to do everyone’s floor routine,” Dickerson said. “She told [coach Rhonda Faehn] that if I wasn’t competing one weekend and she was that she wanted my exercise.”
Bridget Sloan, a former Olympic champion, has the potential to earn plenty of NCAA hardware not just because of her talent — but because of her lively spirit.
“In every practice, she’s very disciplined and very hardworking, but at the same time, she really just lights it up, and everyone feeds off of that energy and her enthusiasm,” Faehn said of Sloan.
“[Her personality] really showed in the competition on Friday night. Obviously she started out with a near-perfect vault for her first performance in college.”
Her 9.925 vault stick during her collegiate debut earned her a share of the vault title. Sloan was named the first Southeastern Conference Freshman Gymnast of the Week.
“I was actually on Twitter, and people shouted at me ‘Congratulations, SEC Freshman of the Week’ and I was like ‘Oh, all right. I’ll take it,’” Sloan said.
“Obviously the SEC is a very prestigious conference and being named SEC Freshman of the Week is quite an accomplishment.”
Sloan’s routine relies on a sense of rhythm. Alicia Sacramone, Sloan’s former 2008 Olympic teammate, decided to help.
Sacramone sent Sloan a text message suggesting floor music for her routine. Eminem’s “Till I Collapse” highlighted the list of songs.
Sloan found the instrumental version to the track, and Faehn agreed to let the freshman incorporate the music into her routine.
“I’m actually glad I listened to [Sacramone] this time,” Sloan said. “I didn’t want a floor routine that people would just watch. I want them to be aware that I’m on the floor and not just any other athlete.”
Freshman Bridget Sloan sticks a landing during Florida’s 196.575-190.55 win against Ball State on Jan. 4 in the O’Connell Center.