March 5, 2008
Stanford, Calif. - In our six-part series featuring all six Stanford women's gymnastics senior class, we focus today on Alex Pintchouk. A native of Lawrenceville, NJ., Pintchouk has been an all-around contributor, excelling in all four events. She has highs of 9.85 on vault, beam and floor this season and a high of 9.825 on bars. She is a two-time Academic All-American, honored by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches (NACGC/W).
She has helped the Cardinal out to a 9-4 record on the season and a No. 9 national ranking. Pintchouk will be competing for the final time at home this Friday, Mar. 7 at Maples Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. Come cheer on Pintchouk and the five other Stanford women's gymnastics seniors for one last time this Friday.
Seven Questions with Alex Pintchouk:
Why did you choose Stanford?
It was the combination of athletics and academics that made me want to come to Stanford ever since my sophomore year of high school. After that, it was all about fitting with the team and what I wanted my college experience to be like. I came on my recruiting trip and was able to see myself as a student at Stanford. More importantly, I was also able to see myself as a member of the SWG family. I really liked the coaches and the girls that I met. It just felt like the perfect fit for me and had the best of both worlds in terms of great academics and great gymnastics.
How has Stanford women's gymnastics changed you since you came in
as a freshman?
I would have to say that I am much more team oriented now than I was as a freshman. College gymnastics is all about the team, which is different from club gymnastics where it is more about the individual. As a result, everything that you do in and out of the gym impacts every one of your teammates. I am now more aware of my actions and my words because of how they impact the rest of the team. Also, in terms of gymnastics, everything you do is for the team and that makes it much more exciting and fun. Another change is in my confidence as a gymnast and a person. After four years of practices and competitions, I am definitely more confident when I go to compete than when I was a freshman. I know that I can get a good score and help the team every time I step out to compete. I also think that I am more confident as a person because I have been able to balance school and gymnastics at Stanford. I feel more prepared for life after college. I also think, we all have grown and learned a lot about what it means to be a part of SWG and how much we enjoy what we do. We have had a lot of great times together and we have also struggled together. Not only has it brought us closer together, it has reminded us why we do what we do. We really love our sport and we enjoy working hard together.
What is your most memorable meet these past four years?
This is a hard question. I definitely think both nights of the 2007 NCAA Championships are two of my most memorable competitions. After missing nationals for two years in a row, it felt great to finally compete in the super six knowing that we worked hard to get there and deserved to be there. However, another meet that really stands out in my mind was our Breast Cancer Awareness Meet last year in Maples. In many ways, this meet was the stepping-stone to our success last year. We got our highest score of the season and continued to build from there. In addition, we did that without Tabbs or Liz in the line-up, who were battling some injuries at the time. The energy was amazing and there were many stellar performances individually as well.
Describe a memorable off the court moment as a team in your time at
Our team activity before Pac 10s sophomore year might have been the funniest night off the court. It was a mixture of improv and skits that made us laugh to the point of tears. Another memorable moment was our team retreat to Tahoe earlier this year. For someone who had never been to Tahoe, I was completely in awe of the scenery. It is one of the most beautiful places I have been to and I got to spend it with my teammates. We had some great team challenges and bonding experiences as a team and it was really exciting to be back together for another year.
What is your favorite class at Stanford?
Sociology of Law has been one of my favorite classes so far. The professor was really engaging and the content of the course was very interesting. We learned about the difference between the law in the books and the law in action. I learned just how big that difference is and how it is played out in our society, which I really did not know before. Another favorite class of mine was Sleep and Dreams because so much of what I learned was really applicable to daily life.
What is something you would tell any aspiring gymnast?
There are always going to be hard times, but don't let that get in the way. If you love what you are doing, embrace the challenges, learn from them, and become a better athlete/person because of them. Also, work hard and have fun.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I am planning on staying for a fifth year to go abroad to Moscow and finish the co-terminal program in Sociology. After that, we will see.