Twenty-three years ago, Nicole Clemens was a 14-year-old competitive gymnast whose fear of pulling off a round off back layout kept her from progressing in her chosen sport. Today, she’s a 37-year-old high school English teacher and mother of two who coaches gymnastics part-time.
That roster of responsibilities is already damn impressive — I for one feel a little lazy just reading it — but it’s Clemens conquering her fear that’s earned her viral fame.
In the spirit of being freaking proud of myself and also knowing I'm about to be fat shamed on the Internet, I present to you me, a 38 year old mom and teacher, doing a thing I was afraid to do when I was a 14 year old gymnast. Next week: add a full (and straighten my legs) pic.twitter.com/4YpFRArgtd
— Nicole Clemens (@Nicolemens) February 18, 2020
Clemens talked to Buzzfeed about how she returned to the world of gymnastics.
“I put my daughter in a recreational gymnastics class to just keep her busy. She took off in the sport and is now a level 9 out of 10. [Nice parent brag.] But that means my life has been consumed by gymnastics in new ways.
“I’m always in and out of the gym as a mom. Gymnastics is also such an expensive sport so I started coaching a bit at the gym to offset costs. I now coach a small competitive team.”
Because she was still so involved in the sport, Clemens decided to join an adult class with another parent of a gymnast. And while she says that she just wanted to have fun, it’s also clear from her tweet that she worked hard to perfect this move, something that commenters were quick to celebrate.
Shame? Girl, you’re a badass.
— Sally ❄️ Nov 3 (@snide_sally) February 19, 2020
Total props to you!!! Going after our dreams and working hard for them is what counts, not what you wear, what size you wear or any other superficial thing. You are inspiring.
— Paige Carita (@carita_paige) February 18, 2020
You look amazing! Congrats! I am nearly 55, and my body didn’t work that way when I was 15, and damned skippy wouldn’t now! Don’t let anyone steal the joy of what you’ve accomplished! You earned that, girl!!!
— Lisalyn R. Jacobs (@LRockL) February 18, 2020
And while it might make you feel lazy for not mastering difficult, athletic maneuvers well into your thirties, it’s hard not to be happy for Clemens, who accomplished her goal and inspired thousands of others in the process.