Calm confidence holds halfway across the world


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa’s Charlotte Sullivan performs on the floor during the Iowa/Ohio State gymnastics meet in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. The GymHawks defeated the Buckeyes, 195.725 to 195.300, to win their home opener. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

A calm, confident gymnast from New Zealand has the ability to bring home titles in a role she was long expected to fill.

Sophomore Charlotte Sullivan is an all-around performer whose strengths come from her hard work and her personality.

“Charlotte is calm confidence, stability,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “She’s very positive, she blends well with everybody, she is that kid. But she has increased the level of difficulty that’s being done, so it kind of makes everyone aim a little bit higher.”

Not only does Sullivan’s performance in the gym push the GymHawks to perform better, her personality and overall work-ethic do as well.

“[Sullivan] is the sweetest person, and she works hard in and out of the gym,” senior Melissa Zurawski said. “She has a very calm presence and always has a low-key ‘You got this, girl,’ and that always helps me gain confidence.”

Being from New Zealand, Sullivan’s transition to the Midwest wasn’t easy. The campus and the team were both big factors in Sullivan’s decision on college.

Having a team that is as closely knit as the Hawkeyes helped with the move.

“I miss all my friends and family, but everyone here definitely makes up for it,” Sullivan said. “They’re like my family.”

Her family traveled from New Zealand to the States to spend Christmas in California. They attended Iowa’s first two meets, as well as the home-opener against Ohio State.

“I love them coming over here; it was nice for them to see where I’m living now, what’s happening, and to meet all the girls and all the coaches,” Sullivan said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

At the Jan. 19 GymHawks’ meet against Ohio State, Sullivan earned the all-around title with a score of 31.900.

That performance marked a season-high for her, and it also cemented the vision her coaches have for her.

“[The Ohio State meet] didn’t show me anything that I didn’t already know,” Libby said. “She should be winning titles all year long — she’s that good — she just doesn’t know it yet.”

Sullivan won the New Zealand Nationals three years in a row from 2012-14, along with wins in 2007 and 2010. At the World Cup in 2015, she took home a bronze medal on beam.

During her Hawkeye freshman year, Sullivan appeared in every meet. She recorded season-high scores on vault (9.825), uneven bars (9.925), and floor (9.800), and her season high beam score of 9.900 came at NCAA regional.

Her season-best all-around score (39.200) came on Feb. 25, 2017, at BYU, just .100 higher than her Ohio State score this season.

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