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SportsMonday Column: Plocki, Michigan vault back onto the scene

By Stephen J. Nesbitt, Daily Sports Editor
Published January 27, 2013

If you think about it, a career in gymnastics has about the shortest career span out there. Gymnastics isn’t a profession for hardly anyone. You’re not going to be competing at 28, so it only makes sense to sell Michigan, to sell the education.

The largest circuit is the Olympics, where gymnastics truly thrives and consistently earns some of the highest viewership of the Olympic Games. But if you’re in college, you’re probably past your prime for international competition, so selecting a college isn’t an athletics decision as much as it is a career decision.

“We feel like we can offer the package between the national championship-caliber athletic program and the Ivy League-quality education,” Plocki said.

While she didn’t hesitate to praise the dedication of the fans that do trickle into the Crisler Center for competitions, Plocki did admit that finding ways to fill seats is still a work in progress. Huge banners are up around Briarwood Mall, a few miles from campus, showing an athlete or two and the season schedule.

It’s hard to attract that attention.

“We continually strive to get the word out,” Plocki said. “If people develop an interest in wanting to come out and check out the sport of women’s gymnastics, they’ll see why there are 13,000 people who go to a gym meet in Alabama, Utah, Georgia.

“It’s really a fabulous event. These athletes are genuinely athletes, and the things that they do are pretty incredible. It’s just a great sport and if you come once you typically really enjoy it and want to continue to come back.”

So, surprise yourself and give it a chance, make your way down on a Friday night. It’ll be worth your time.

It’s tough to get out of the shadows at Michigan, but there just might be enough room for two No. 1s at Crisler.

— Nesbitt can be reached at and on Twitter: @stephenjnesbitt.