Thursday, September 3, 2009

Terin Humphrey

Terin Humphrey has had a successful career as an elite gymnast. From a prominent Olympic level career, competing on the 2004 US National Olympic Team in Athens, Greece, to her retirement and move to law enforcement, Humphrey exemplifies success. Born in Saint Joseph, Missouri on August 14, 1986, Humphrey became a gymnast at an early age. While living in Bates City, Missouri, she trained with Dragon Gymnastics at the Great American Gymnastics Express while under the training of coaches Al and Armine Fong.

After finishing second in 2000, seventh in 2002, and sixth in 2003 at the US National Championships, Humphrey was asked to join the US National Team. While on the US National Team, she was able to participate in many international events, including going to Anaheim, California to compete in the World Gymnastics Championships. While in Anaheim, she was a major contributor in assisting the team win the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships Gold Medal beating out gymnastic powers Romania and China. She contributed one of her signature elements, an incredibly difficult floor routine.

In 2004 after placing third at US Nationals, Humphrey was asked once again to compete on the US National team, although this team she would be competing as a part of the US Olympic Gymnastics Team in Athens, Greece. Along with teammates Mohini Bhardwaj, Annia Hatch, Carly Patterson, Courtney Kupets, and Courtney McCool, fellow training partner under Al and Armine Fog with Dragon Gymnastics, Humphrey helped lead the US Team to an Olympic Silver Medal. This was the best US Olympic Gymnastics team finals performance achieved away from US soil and the highest medal performance since the 1996 Gold Medal performance in Atlanta, Georgia. Humphrey assisted in the team finals by competing on the uneven bars and beam, with scores of 9.587 and 9.487 respectively. To go along with her team Silver Medal, Humphrey competed in the event finals for the uneven bars. After a near flawless performance, she won a surprising Silver Medal, placing behind France’s Emilie Le Pennec. This was the best uneven bars performance by an American woman since Amy Chow’s 1996 Silver Medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Following her success in Athens, Humphrey made the decision to compete on the collegiate level at the University of Alabama. This was a great opportunity for Humphrey as Alabama was a traditional power in women’s collegiate gymnastics. Her 2005 freshman year was certainly a breakout year at the collegiate level. She won 10 uneven bar titles during the season. Two of those titles included the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Central Regional uneven bars titles. The third of the titles was becoming the 2005 NCAA Champion on Uneven Bars. Humphrey became the 18th individual gymnastics champion ever at the University of Alabama and one of four women to win a championship on the uneven bars. Along with being the NCAA Champion on uneven bars, she helped the Crimson Tide to second place at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships, behind national powerhouse University of Georgia. Besides winning the uneven bar title and placing second with her team, Humphrey posted a career high of 9.8 on the vault, a 9.95 on the floor exercise, and a respected 39.575 in the all-around losing out to fellow former US National Team member Tasha Schwikert of the University of Georgia, whom she won a World Championship with in 2003.

During her sophomore year, she made the First Team All-American and Second Team All-American on several individual events. Following the 2005-2006 season Humphrey had surgery on both of her elbows.  Since the surgery took place in the fall, she was expected to miss the first half of the 2006-2007 collegiate season, but surprised everyone by recovering extremely fast. She competed in every meet and made it to the all-around 12 times.

The 2006-2007 post-season was rough for the University of Alabama gymnastics team. The Crimson Tide failed to qualify for the NCAA Gymnastics Super Six finals for the first time in over a decade. Humphrey though bounced back and had a very successful individual national’s performance. She won the NCAA Championship on uneven bars for the second time in her collegiate career against one of the toughest fields ever produced at the NCAA finals. She became the 20th Crimson Tide gymnast to win a national title, and the sixth to win two national titles. Along with her individual title, she went All-American on the uneven bars and balance beam.

During the 2007-2008 season, her senior year, Humphrey struggled much of the year with back problems. She took this as an opportunity to reevaluate her gymnastics career. On March 18, 2008, she announced her retirement from gymnastics. After graduating from the University of Alabama in December of 2008, Humphrey decided to follow in the steps of her older brother Shannon, a Blue Springs police officer, by going to the police academy. She had always been interested in law enforcement since childhood, so joining the police force was an obvious next step. After graduating from the police academy in mid 2010, she joined the Raymore Police Department in Raymore, Missouri. Instead of doing flips and back handsprings, she now pulls 12-hour shifts writing reports, handling calls, and calming agitated suspects.

One of the reasons Humphrey chose the Raymore Police Department was their willingness to give her time off to act as an athletic representative for the US National Gymnastics Team. She will help with the selection process leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, United Kingdom. She will attend meets throughout the country observing up and coming elite gymnasts in their pursuit of becoming a member of the US National team.

Terin Humphrey has had a full and successful career in gymnastics. She won two Olympic medals, multiple NCAA Individual titles, and now has a new career as a police officer in her home state. Even though Humphrey is no longer on the bars and the beam, her presence is still felt in the US Gymnastics community. To go along with her success in the past, more success is to come for Humphrey. The future is bright.