When Eva Hollingsworth was only six years old, she was determined to make a gymnastics team at Lehi’s Legacy Center by running a mile every day. “She would come home from kindergarten and run around the block and ask me if that was a mile,” remembered Eva’s mother, Christina Hollingsworth, with a laugh. “I always said yes.”
Nine years, hundreds of hours in the gym and a room full of medals later, Eva Hollingsworth, an eighth-grader at Willowcreek Middle School, is one of only a handful of gymnasts representing Utah at an upcoming region meet. Utah is part of Region 1, which also includes Arizona, California and Nevada. Eva took first all-around in her age group at the 2021 USA Gymnastics Utah State Meet in Layton, Utah, during the last week in March.
“I posted my highest score ever on bars, so that really helped,” said Eva. Her favorite event is floor exercise, where she gets to do tumbling passes. “I’ve always struggled on the bars,” she added.
In December 2019, Eva had surgery to remove cysts in her wrists, and that determination to do her best came into play again when she went back to training. It was only a few weeks before she returned to four-hour workouts, four times a week at the All-American Gymnastics in Lindon. All that time in the gym is still energizing for 14-year-old Eva, but she likes to relax like most teenagers when she’s home.
“Eva has always been a fearless performer. My mom almost couldn’t watch her on the bars when she was so little – she was a head shorter than the other girls, and she had to stand on one bar to reach the next,” said Christina Hollingsworth. “She would tell me afterward that she was nervous, but we could never tell in her performance. She was always brave and just did it.”
The Hollingsworths are an athletic family, and each of the children were climbers as babies. “Eva used to scare me to death. She used to use the chair back as a ladder to get onto the counter,” said Christina.
The pandemic changed gymnastics just as it did every sport. Some gyms had to close down; athletes have to wear masks while waiting for their events, and keeping everything clean is a top priority now. It’s kept everyone healthy, though, and the majority of athletes and spectators have been willing to do their part so the program can continue.
Eva Hollingsworth has big goals, including a college gymnastics scholarship. She’s graduated from running around the block to get ready. The fierce competitor in her will be prepared for any challenge.