Gymnastics Standout Brie Clark Continues To Impress At Utah State

Posted by Adam Poklop on

Brie Clark - Gymnast - US Glove Brand Ambassador

If you’re looking for Brie Clark’s defining title, well good luck. Honor roll student? A 4.1 GPA and National Honors Society membership is impressive. Or is it as an athlete, as a state, regional, and national champion turned Division I gymnast. Charitable is a good bet too — not  many high school students spent 24 hours a week in the gym and found time to help the homeless. But you can’t forget how loyal she is to her family. Clearly, Brie is an impressive young woman.  

Talking with Brie, her passion for mental health awareness quickly shines. During high school, Brie served as a peer helper through the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, an organization formed in the memory of a high school student who took her own life. Additionally, she participated in an out-of-the-darkness walk. “You walk for those who have taken their own lives and you walk in their honor,” Brie explained. “And there’s beads with colors to symbolize your experience and knowing people who have been through different struggles.”

It was an unforgettable almost indescribable experience. “It’s a lot to take in the first time, there are so many emotions,” said Brie. “You don’t realize how many people have gone through this or the impact you can have on someone until they tell you ‘Hey, you might not have known you did this, but you actually helped me through this.’”

In gymnastics, Brie is no stranger to mental struggles and often faces mental blocks. “It’s a battle for me,” she acknowledged. “Sometimes if I get to the point where I’m stressing myself out, I have to take a step back, maybe a day off, and just do one thing at a time.” But it was physical injuries that sidelined Brie for a full year and threatened her dreams of competing in college when she suffered an OCD (Osteochondritis dissecans) lesion in her elbow.

“It was hard being on the sidelines and conditioning while watching everyone continue to do their thing,” she said. “I had to work twice as hard.” Then came the setback. While attempting a handspring lay, Brie knocked her elbow on the beam, reinjuring it. That meant surgery and many more painfully slow months. “It was really hard because I was just starting to make progress again and I was already behind, and it felt like I took two steps forward, four steps backward,” she explained.

But Brie never wavered — she doubled down. “I knew I still wanted to be in the gym. Now I had to work four times as hard this time.” Sure enough, she did, and at the end of the day, Brie knows the whole experience made her stronger as a person, as well a gymnast. “I’m glad to have gone through it,” she said. “It taught me perseverance. As long as you work hard, you can come back even stronger.”

Even if she hadn’t endured back-to-back injuries, Brie still would have been behind the recruiting curve. Unlike most of her peers, Brie’s career didn’t begin as a toddler. She was almost 10 years old when she took her first classes. “Recruiting starts at such a young age and a lot of the people I’ve met through camps and meets committed in eighth grade. In eighth grade, I didn’t know what to eat for lunch, let alone where I wanted to go to college,” she joked. But when the going got tough, Brie never lost her faith. “It was discouraging seeing all these people around me committing, but I just believed God had good plans for me. And I just kept working really hard.”

Brie’s role model in the sport is a no-brainer: Simone Biles. “In addition to being great, she also works so hard and continues to grow even though she beats people by six points,” Brie marveled. “She competes against herself and tries to be better than she was yesterday.” It’s only fitting Brie made headlines last Spring when she became only the fourth woman to land the Biles, a double flip into twists named for her idol. As the video made its rounds, Simone Biles herself retweeted it.

“The one thing I wish is they got on video is after I finished my whole routine, we all started jumping up and down and they all gave me hugs,” she said. “They’re so supportive, they were almost more excited than I was.” “They saw me at my highs and lows and been there for both, and they helped me get through so much.”

While many athletes might take their supportive teammates for granted, that wasn’t the case for Brie. In fact, a few years earlier the reaction would’ve looked a lot different. “We used to not have a good gym culture,” Brie explained. Brie and her family made it their mission to change things. “During my first year, we’d have a whole section filled with my family, complete with my head on a stick and posters.” And they were the most loyal fans any newcomer could ask for. If she fell down — which wasn’t rare — they erupted into cheers when she got back up. At first, her family, decked out in personalized family T-shirts, got weird looks from the others. Before long, everyone had them.

Probably nothing is as important to Brie as her family. And without the support of her entire family, her gymnastics career wouldn’t have been the same. When Brie decided to go all in on gymnastics, she moved to a gym 40 minutes from her home. That meant each practice was 40 minutes there, and 40 minutes home. And she didn’t have her license for most of that, requiring a great deal of help and sacrifice from her family. “They’ve supported me through the whole thing,” she said. “No matter what my goals and dreams are, they’ve supported it. I’ve also been blessed to have that, because not everyone does.”

Brie’s positive experience at Planet Gymnastics played a huge role in her college search, as she sought schools where she could recreate that tight-knit group. She had met the Utah State coaching staff at a camp, and little did she know she remained on their radar for the rest of her high school career. “They followed me throughout and it caught my attention that they saw me grow as a gymnast and could see the potential in me.” When Brie visited the campus, she was in love. “When I got to campus and got to meet the team, they were very close like my teammates and that was the most important box it checked.”

Of course, there’s a big difference between Alabama and Utah, with a 27-hour drive and nearly 2,000 miles separating her new school and home, which her mom naturally wasn’t thrilled about. At the time, Brie simply reassured her mom with a smile and two words; “There’s FaceTime!”

When we talked with Brie as a senior in high school who had accepted a full-ride scholarship, she said her biggest goal was just to make an impact in college. Last week, the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference named Brie the Floor Specialist of the Week for a fourth — yes, fourth — straight week in recognition of her efforts for the 20th-ranked program in the nation. In her first season, Brie is already following through on her goal.

The US Glove team is truly moved by the character Brie has shown. The world has plenty of talented young athletes, but few possess Brie’s determination and selflessness. Unleash your superpower with US Glove!

Want to see Brie on The Kelly Clarkson Show?

Brie uses US Glove Tiger Paws Wrist Supports to help prevent injuries. Get yours here!

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. - AFSP

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