Arkansas hires 23-year-old gold medalist Jordyn Wieber as head gymnastics coach

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The NCAA’s newest head gymnastics coach isn’t even old enough to rent a car in some states.

Jordyn Wieber, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. gymnastics team, was announced as Arkansas’ head women’s gymnastics coach on Wednesday. She is 23 years old.

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Wieber will replace Mark Cook, who coached the Razorbacks for 17 years after starting the program from scratch in 2001. During Cook’s tenure, Arkansas made 15 straight NCAA Regional appearances.

“The journey of Jordyn Wieber is truly extraordinary,” Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in the statement. “As one of the world’s elite gymnasts and an assistant at one of the top collegiate programs in the country, she has already experienced more than many of us will in a lifetime. She has a maturity beyond her years and her experiences at the highest level of gymnastics will be a tremendous asset to the young women in our program.”

Jordyn Wieber was the first of the Fierce Five to retire from competitive gymnastics. She seems to have found a calling as a coach. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Jordyn Wieber was the first of the Fierce Five to retire from competitive gymnastics. She seems to have found a calling as a coach. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

How Jordyn Wieber got here

Wieber first achieved national fame as a member of the “Fierce Five,” the 2012 U.S. team that captured the country’s second ever team all-around title. Wieber contributed to the team — which also featured Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross — on the floor exercise, vault and uneven bars.

Making the contributions even more impressive was the later revelation that Wieber was competing despite a stress fracture in her right leg.

Wieber was also among the many gymnasts to come forward with sexual assault claims against Larry Nassarfiling a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University last year.

A year after competing in the Olympics, Wieber enrolled at UCLA and joined the gymnastics program as a team manager and, later, volunteer assistant coach. There, she worked under legendary coach Valorie Kondos Field, and apparently made a very good impression.

“Her dedication to the integrity of the process of becoming and developing champions in life through the sport of gymnastics is on par with some of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met,” Field said in a statement. “Jordyn Wieber is simply one of the most impressive people I have ever had the honor and privilege to work with.”

Now, Wieber will get an entire college program under her control, teaching some athletes just a few years younger than her.

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