Courtney Kupets was born on July 27, 1986 in Bedford, Texas. Courtney started gymnastics in 1989, after her sister, Ashley, had started the sport. Both Ashley and Courtney are currently Senior International Elite gymnasts at Hill's Angels in Maryland. Although Courtney is now considered an experienced gymnast, she has only been competing internationally since 1999, her first year as an elite.
In 1999, Courtney first competed as an international elite gymnast! She earned a trip to her first US Nationals by competing solidly at the US Classic in Rochester, NY. At Nationals in Sacramento, CA, she placed 7th in the all-around and third on beam! She was also selected to compete in two international competitions, placing 1st on floor and 1st as a team at the 1999 France vs. USA meet. She was also 2nd with the US team and 2nd on beam at the 1999 Canada vs. USA meet.
Year 2000 started out strong for Courtney, competing in yet another international meet, the Bluewater International Invitational in Canada. There she swept the competition - placing 1st on vault, bars, beam, floor, and the all around! She placed third at the American Classic in Reno, Nevada, easily qualifying to her 2nd U.S. Nationals! While competing at Nationals in St. Louis, MO, Courtney broke her heel on beam and was unable to complete the rest of the meet. That injury also kept her out of competition for the rest of the year.
2001 turned out to be the exact opposite from 2000. Starting off rough at the 2001 Parkette Invitational (Allentown, PA) and 2001 US Classic (Pomona, CA), Courtney quickly turned things around. Competing at her third and final Jr. National Championships in Philadelphia, PA, Courtney made an astonishing jump from 23rd at the US Classic to 6th on day one of Nationals! After both days of the meet she was 9th. Based on her performances, Courtney was assigned to the 2001 Japan Junior Invitational but did not compete after the United States was attacked on September 11th. Living near Washington D.C., these attacks hit especially close to Courtney and her family.
The US pulled out from the meet but later Courtney was assigned to the 2001 Glasgow Grand Prix, part of the World Cup circuit. This was undoubtably Courtney's largest meet ever and surprisingly enough she had one of the best meets of her life! During the first day of competition, she was ranked 1st on beam and bars and 3rd on floor and 4th on vault. Mistakes on day two pushed her down in the standings but at the end of the competition she was still ranked in the top 7 on all for events - including 4th on beam and bars.
With 2002 being Courtney's first year as a Senior Elite, she made the most of all of her opportunities! She was selected by Marta Karolyi to compete in the 2002 VISA American Cup at a National Team training camp over several already established gymnasts. Courtney not only impressed coaches, fans, and the judges - she nearly won the meet, placing second to National Champion Tasha Schwikert! Due to her performance, she practically burst onto the international gymnastics scene, appearing on the cover of almost all the major gymnastics magazines.
Courtney suffered another bump on the road when she injured her knee and had to have surgery. She was back in competitive shape in time for Nationals, earning a respectable 8th place in the all-around. On day two she placed second on beam, qualifying her to the 2002 World Team Selection Camp. Despite Courtney's relative inexperience compared to other National Team members, she was selected to the 2002 World Team along with Ashley Postell, Terin Humphrey, and Sam Sheehan!
Arriving in Debrecen, Hungary, the US team was a team of underdogs and unknown gymnasts. They would leave with three medals, including two golds - one of them Courtney's! Surprising everyone in the qualifying round, Courtney placed second on bars - ahead of everyone but five-time defending bars World Champion Svetlana Khorkina. During semi-finals she was again second, tied with Ludmila Yezhova of Russia. During finals Courtney hit her third routine in a row and shot to the top of the scoreboard... where she would remain for the rest of the competition! She became the first individual world champion since Shannon Miller's beam gold medal in 1994 and only the third US woman to win the bars title (Marcia Fredrick - 1979, Shannon Miller - 1993).
The year 2003 proved to be a roller-coaster one for Courtney and her teammates. She competed solidly at the 2003 Parkette Invitational and was again selected to compete at the VISA American Cup. Again she placed second in the all-around and also won bars! Courtney was again selected to compete in an important international meet, a tri-meet with Australia and Canada called the Pacific Challenge; she placed 2nd in the all-around and won floor.
Courtney entered the 2003 U.S. Nationals as an underdog (despite winning the U.S. Classic) but she left a National Champion! By placing in the top three, she automatically earned a spot on the World Championship team. Heading into Worlds, Courtney was expected to challenge for medals on bars and in the all-around but it was not meant to be. She was the 2nd highest qualifier for the uneven bars final after team prelims but she tore her Achilles during a practice session the next day. She was forced to withdraw from the competition and headed home for immediate surgery. The five remaining team members went on to win the team gold; Courtney's coach Kelli Hill accepted her medal for her.
2004 began with Courtney working her hardest to return to top competitive shape and she did it in amazing speed! She was already ready on two events by the Parkette Invitational where she outscored the entire competition on bars with a 9.850! After competing bars and beam at the U.S. Classic, Courtney was ready to show her readiness on all events at the International Friendship Camp at the Karolyi Ranch - and she won the all-around! Despite this, Courtney was still an underdog coming into the U.S. Nationals, her third senior Nationals.
Despite how she entered Nashville, she left an Olympic favorite after she shocked most people inside the gymnastics community by winning her second Senior National title. She shared the title with fellow World team member Carly Patterson! The next stop on the path to the Olympics was the Olympic Trials in Anaheim, California. Competing in the same arena where she tore her Achilles less than a year before, Courtney won the all-around on both days of the competition and was named to the Olympic Team along with Courtney McCool. After attending the Olympic Selection Camp where the other four members of the team were announced (Carly Patterson, Terin Humphrey, Mohini Bhardwaj, Annia Hatch), Courtney began the intense training required for the Olympic Games. Unfortunately while at the Games, the U.S. Team didn't do as well as many people hoped but the team still did better than any team in history! The US men and women's teams both brought home the team silver and all-around gold (Paul Hamm, Carly Patterson) and many other individual medals. Courtney qualified to the bars, beam, and all-around finals, where she finished 3rd, 5th, and 11th respectively. During the all-around final, she had to deal with what ended up being a fractured hip bone and was unable to compete to her fullest potential.
After the Olympics, the team participated in shows across the country with T.J. Maxx and USAG called the T.J. Maxx Tour of Champions! The tour started in September in Atlanta, Georgia, and travelled to 28 states to end in Tallahassee, Florida!
Now life is very different for Courtney! Instead of spending almost all her time in the gym training, she is a busy college student at one of the best universities in the country! A recipient of the Leon Farmer Athletic Scholarship in 2005, Courtney is on a full scholarship to be a member of the GymDawgs Gymnastics Team - a team that has won seven NCAA Championship titles. Courtney is one of only six Olympians to be on the GymDawg roster as well! Outside of the gym, Courtney is enjoying being a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and is majoring in interior design and drama!
Courtney's first season as a Gymdog was an amazing one. She was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, scored a 9.900 or higher 40 times during the season (Karin Lichey scored 42 in her senior season), earned 35 titles throughout the season, and was the only gymnast ranked in the top 5 on every event at the end of the regular season. She capped off her year by leading UGA to it's 15th SEC Championship and 7th National Championship and earning three titles of her own in the all-around, bars, and beam. This ties a record set by Hope Spivey in 1991 for the most individual championships at Nationals! She also held the season high scores on the team for the all around (39.700), bars (9.975), and floor (9.950); she had the second highest scores on vault (9.950) and beam (9.925). Lastly, Courtney was one of four gymnasts nominated for the prestigious Honda Award, which was awarded to Alabama's Ashley Miles.
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