Dec. 11, 2012
Former GymHawk Jessa Hansen sits down with freshman Opua Calucag. In 2011, Calucag qualified to the Junior Olympic Nationals and placed 14th on balance beam after placing sixth in the all-around at the Region I Level 10 Championships. Calucag was crowned the 2010 Level 9 Region I All-Around Champion and the 2010 Level 9 Western National Floor Champion. Calucag trained at West Coast Elite Gymnastics under coaches Fernando Villa and Antoaneta Angelova.
What is your first gymnastics memory?
"When I was seven, I didn't make it over the vault at my first meet."
What is your favorite place in Iowa City?
"Downtown. Back home, in California, there is a part of Pasadena called Old Town. It looks and feels exactly like downtown Iowa City. I don't get to go over there too often, but I definitely enjoy going to Yotopia and Starbucks."
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite movie?
"She's The Man."
What is your favorite music?
"I like a lot of music but mostly mainstream stuff. I'm secretly a One Direction fan, and I'm really excited to see them in concert next summer!"
Where is one place you want to visit?
"I definitely want to visit Rio during the Olympics in 2016. I think it would be an experience of a lifetime to see the opening ceremonies and to watch the events in person."
What are your goals for 2013?
"My goals are to get and stay healthy and to make lineup on beam. Right now, I'm really happy to get my skills back and put them together in routines."
Why did you choose to attend the University of Iowa?
"I fell in love the entire atmosphere of the campus and Iowa City. Other than the weather in the winter, Iowa City feels a lot like home. The team and the coaches are amazing, and the University of Iowa has one of the top physical therapy programs in the United States!"
What has the first semester of college taught you?
"Independence. In college you can't rely on anyone to tell you what to do every minute of every day. You have a support system, but ultimately it's up to you to get things done. You have to be self-motivated and disciplined to get things accomplished."
What are your pre-meet rituals?
"Shower, get ready, take a nap, listen to pump-up music and do visual routines."
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
"Michael Phelps. He's the most decorated Olympian of all time."
Who is the most influential person in your life?
"My parents. I wouldn't be at this point in my life without their support and encouragement."
What is your ideal career?
"My ideal career is to be a physical therapist. As an athlete, I've been injured more than enough. Being injured isn't fun, but it has allowed me to see what physical therapy is all about. I think it would be amazing to help other people, especially athletes, come back from their injuries."
What is your most memorable gymnastics moment?
"Making it to Junior Olympic Nationals in 2011.That season was rough for me, but making it to the biggest Level 10 meet was a huge accomplishment."
What is one word that describes you?
The 2013 season motto is "Challenge Accepted." Is there a particular moment when the motto resonated with you?
"'Challenge Accepted' definitely resonated with me the first time Libby put me in the beam lineup for one of our intrasquads. I was extremely surprised but also extremely excited. I had only been working beam for a couple weeks, but I accepted the challenge and competed my first beam routine for the first time in over a year and a half."
What are you looking forward to the most in the 2013 season?
"This season, I'm really looking forward to traveling and competing with the team. I'm also looking forward to total Hawkeye domination."
What should we expect from the GymHawks this year?
"This year, you can expect the GymHawks to have a little more sass and an amazing season!"