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Bormann embraces unique family

CROSSING THE PACIFIC: Senior gymnast Kaitlynn Bormann was born in South Korea and then adopted by an American family. (Photo by Nikolai de Vera)
CROSSING THE PACIFIC: Senior gymnast Kaitlynn Bormann was born in South Korea and then adopted by an American family. (Photo by Nikolai de Vera)

Kaitlynn Bormann isn’t part of a typical American family.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, the ASU senior gymnast was put up for adoption almost immediately after birth.

“Me and my twin sister were just a few months old,” Bormann said. “We were adopted straight from Korea and given to our parents.”

No, Bormann doesn’t have the typical nuclear family, but she is part of the type of family that makes this country so special.

After moving to Long Island, New York, Bormann’s new home quickly became more crowded.

“We also have two younger brothers and a younger sister,” Bormann said. “None of us are biologically related, but we are still brothers and sisters.”

Thanks to Tom and Dianne Bormann, Kaitlynn and her siblings were given the opportunities that most Americans take for granted. “My mom is a really caring and giving person. She’s a school nurse so she loves being around kids,” Kaitlynn said. “But I’m a lot like my dad — we both like to do everything ourselves.”

With five young children, it’s safe to say the Bormann household was a crazy place to grow up in.

“When my twin and I were young, we would kind of jump all around the living room,” Kaitlynn said. “So my mom wanted to put us in an environment where we could do that without getting hurt or breaking lamps.”

Enter gymnastics.

By the time Kaitlynn graduated high school, she had placed second on balance beam and sixth on vault at nationals in 2005.

Good move on mom’s part.

ASU later caught wind of her talent.

“I took a visit out here with my club team,” Bormann said. “I met with the coaches, visited the campus and saw the gym. I just loved it all, so I decided to come here.”

Bormann’s twin sister, Danielle, also experienced success in the sport.

“She went to Rutgers her freshman year and was a walk-on,” Bormann said. “She quit after a year, and now she actually graduated already in December from Stony Brook University.”

When Kaitlynn arrived at ASU, her freshman year was full of struggles she had not planned on.

“For me, it was kind of difficult,” Kaitlynn said. “Just because the last two years [of high school] I was homeschooled, so going from teaching myself to required student study sessions and tests was definitely a big thing to adjust to.”

Once Kaitlynn got accustomed to the college life, her skills began to flourish.

“Kaitlynn is a very exciting athlete,” ASU coach John Spini said. “One of the things you have to appreciate about her is that she cares so much about the team, rather than herself as an individual, and that is a huge plus for us.”

Kaitlynn related her success on the mat with how her relationship with Spini has evolved.

“Everyone in gymnastics has a different style as to how they should be coached and what will help them,“ Kaitlynn said. “[Spini] definitely helps me a lot more just knowing how I am. If I’m having struggles, he knows how to help me overcome them.”

On this year’s gymnastics squad, Kaitlynn is the team’s only senior.

“As a senior, you obviously have the most experience and a lot of the girls do look up to you,” Kaitlynn said. “You’re the one people come to with questions and just stuff like that, but it’s kind of expected.”

Her teammates and coach have noticed the extra effort Kaitlynn puts in.

“She’s been a good leader for us,” ASU sophomore Callie Price said. “She works hard in the gym and can put it together in a meet and score big for us.”

“I think she’s grown in many ways,” Spini said. “Kaitlynn is very hard on herself — she always has been.”

So far this year, Bormann has competed every meet on vault, uneven bars and balance beam.

Unfortunately, most of her family hasn’t been able to make the trip out to Tempe.

“It’s kind of hard for my mom because we have a lot of dogs at home,” Bormann said. “But my dad comes out on business trips sometimes.”

As for the future, Bormann hopes for a reunion 21 years in the making.

“We actually have a triplet that we’ve never met,” Bormann said. “So hopefully one day, we can find her and meet her.”

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