Jaelyn Olsen competes on the balance beam. Coaches in the MAC conference voted Olsen as Specialist of the Year. Courtesy Photo
Jaelyn Olsen is the best gymnast in the collegiate Mid American Conference at vault and balance beam
PAWHUSKA, OKLAHOMA — Jaelyn Olsen is the best gymnast in the collegiate Mid American Conference at vault and balance beam. This comes as no surprise to many Osage children who gathered round to watch her perform backflips and aerials, sometimes soaring over six feet high, at the Grayhorse camp at the Pawhuska In-Lon-Schka this year.
Olsen, who is from Bethany, Okla., will be a junior at Northern Illinois University this fall and has enjoyed a full scholarship for gymnastics.
“Jaelyn is a great athlete and has a great work ethic, and I am impressed at how clean and precise her gymnastics looks,” said NIU Head Coach Sam Morreale. “I am very excited to see what else she is capable of this upcoming year, I am proud she is a Huskie.”
In March of this year, MAC Coaches chose Olsen as the MAC Specialist of the Year, an award given to a gymnast who competes in only one or two events. Olsen excelled on the vault and balance beam and is the third Huskie to win this award since it was instituted in 2006, according to niuhuskies.com.
Her competition season lasts approximately 11 weeks, with one meet each week. NIU is part of the Mid American Conference (MAC) and most of the meets are against other teams within MAC. Anyone wanting to keep up with Olsen’s college career can always find numerous postings on Facebook and Twitter about her many accomplishments.
Olsen started gymnastics at the age of five and trained at Mat Trotters Gymnastics in Oklahoma City with coaches Jeff and Trish Carter.
Olsen practices four hours a day, five days a week. As a child Olsen has said she really had no free time because she came home from school and went straight to practice – then home to eat and bed, and get up to do it all over again.
She has stated it was hard sometimes when friends wanted to hang out and she couldn’t but she understood how important practice was and that it came first. There were a few bumps along the way with injuries but her coaches believed in her and with hard work it has all paid off.
“Jaelyn had an ankle injury which limited her to vaults and beams, and had a knee injury her freshman year, however she still competed,” Morreale said.
“Practices were hard some days but I wouldn’t be where I am at today without them. They helped me achieve my goal of being a collegiate gymnast,” Olsen said.
Olsen has achieved an all-time career best score of 9.700 on the balance beam and is currently tied for fourth place in all-time vault scores for the collegiate 2014 season. She has had six first place finishes in the vault and two first place finishes in the balance beam for NIU.
In Olsen’s free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping and going to the movies.
One of her favorite quotes is by Arnold Schwarzenegger who said: “The mind is limited. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you believe 100 percent.”
“I really like this quote because gymnastics isn’t just a physical sport, it is also a mental sport. I have learned that this is true because I always visualize myself doing a routine or a skill perfect,” Olsen said. “Visualizing really helps me because when you think you can’t do it, you really can. Just like this quote, you can really do it if you just believe.”
Olsen’s favorite competition is the MAC Conference Championship. It is a meet where all the teams from MAC compete and show off their hard work as they try to claim the conference title.
Upon graduating from NIU, Olsen would like to come back to Oklahoma and coach and teach Physical Education.
Olsen is the daughter of Biff and Mary Olsen from the Grayhorse District and comes from the Mary Osage Green family.
Tara Madden, Delaware/Sisseton Wahpeton/Sioux, graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University in 2010 with her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and owns Tara Madden Photography.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Osage News. Used with permission. All rights apply.