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ASU gymnast Alex Theodorou shows dedication on and off the floor

Through her hard work and dedication, Alex Theodorou is making a name for herself

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ASU freshman Alex Theodorou does her run up during her vault attempt at Desert Financial Arena on Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

At 19 years old, freshman gymnast Alex Theodorou has been able to turn many heads through her hard work in gymnastics as well as dedication to her studies in the classroom.

When she was a toddler, Theodorou was naturally energetic, so it was only fitting for her to pick up the sport of gymnastics, she said.

"I was put into gymnastics at a very early age because I was always bouncing around the house," Theodorou said. "I just fell in love with the sport, and it became something I have done my entire life."

Theodorou started gymnastics at 2 years old when she participated in a "mom and me" class with her mother. However, being the competitive and driven person she is, Theodorou pushed her mother to the side in an attempt to learn on her own.

"It was so funny, she kept telling me I had to go get away from her, and she could do it on our own," said Theodorou's mother, Christina Kwasnica. "So that was kind of when I knew that she must really like this."

It wasn't until Theodorou was 10 years old that it dawned on her she could take gymnastics to the next level as long as she put in the work and proper time.

"Probably in elementary school I started to take gymnastics more seriously," Theodorou said. "It started to become something real, and something that I would spend most of my time doing to try to get myself better and get to that next level."

Upon entering middle school, Theodorou started training at Desert Lights Gymnastics, where well-known American Olympian MyKayla Skinner Harmer trained.

Through her six years at Desert Lights Gymnastics, Theodorou grew to new heights as a gymnast, and she began to rack up stats and achievements. She won the Arizona Optional State Championships in both 2017 and 2018, the 2019 Arizona Level 6-10 State Championships, the 2020 Valley of the Sun Challenge and the 2021 Region One Championships.

When it came time to pick colleges, it seemed unlikely Theodorou would stay in Arizona. However, after being accepted into Barrett, The Honors College as a medicinal chemistry major and being impressed by the culture of the gymnastics program, she knew attending ASU would be the best option and opportunity for her.

"I loved the coaches and the atmosphere that they brought to the team," Theodorou said. "Additionally, I'm from Arizona so it was nice to be able to be close to my family. The Barrett Honors program was a big thing for me because I wanted to be able to accelerate in my academics as well as push myself athletically, so I thought ASU would do that for me."

Even before arriving at ASU, Sun Devils co-head coach Jay Santos was in awe of Theodorou, not only for her skills on the mat but for her work ethic and dedication to anything she set her mind to.

"She is such a talented gymnast, that's what caught our eye," Santos said. "She is a very motivated and driven individual. Her academics are off the charts. She is so consistent every day in just how she takes care of things. Those are amazing characteristics to have for any gymnast."

Starting off her collegiate career, Theodorou was thrown into the fire immediately as the Sun Devils faced off against No. 1 Michigan to start the season. Although Michigan won, Theodorou made a name for herself right off the bat scoring the first 9.900 of the season for her team. Theodorou carried her momentous performance into Salt Lake City to face No. 2 Utah where she scored a 9.825 or better in three of the events she participated in.

Theodorou's performances to start the season have been noted and recognized by all of her teammates. People around the Sun Devils know Theodorou will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

"I think she has a strong leadership role and personality that will work well with our team," junior Hannah Scharf said. "I see her being a really important star for this team, so I think she has a bright future here."

While she is a talented gymnast, Theodorou aims to continue to work hard and focus on her academics to go to medical school and become a doctor. That being said, Theodorou has embraced every moment of representing Sun Devil gymnastics and hopes to make a lasting impact on the program for years to come.

"I just want to continue to grow and do my best to help the team succeed," Theodorou said. "It's been such an amazing experience so far and can't wait to continue the journey."

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