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Local gymnast's improbable comeback to compete at nationals

Local gymnast's improbable comeback to compete at nationals (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Some people are just wired to perform under maximum pressure. Mason sophomore Adriana Bustelo is one of those people.

"I felt like I was in attack mode, I was like this is the only option," she said.

"Adriana missed the first five meets, she had one last chance, one last regular season meet to qualify to states and she was ready just in the nick of time to do all four events," said Sharon Frank, an athletic trainer with the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Bustelo will compete in the Women's Junior Gymnastics Olympic National Championships the second weekend in May, just six months after having surgery to remove a growth plate in her wrist that was growing too fast.

"In this sport it is tough. It's a longer timeline than maybe some other athletes, and it's because of the way the sport is. They treat their hands like ankles and they’re not designed to be used like that," explained Frank.

Nationals provides exposure for potential collegiate scholarships offers and Bustelo needed to be there.

She needed to qualify first and had just one month to prepare for the one meet that could land her a spot at state, then regionals and then nationals.

"Right after the surgery, it was hurting so bad. I was like there's no way i'll be able to come back," Bustelo said during one of her practice sessions at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy.

Doctors thought she might be able to return in time, but told her she wouldn’t be able to compete in all four events. Not only did she qualify, but she will participate in each event; the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.

"I remember my mom would tell me you can do it, and I was like there's no way. And then it just clicked, and I was like maybe I can make it to nationals. Maybe it's possible," Bustelo said.

"It's tough when you have an injury like this. It takes a lot of character and integrity to come back from something like this," said Frank.

The wires that allowed Bustelo to do the improbable aren’t the ones that come in the stranded, solid or braided forms, but if they were, the stranded would be at work. The flexible ones that can endure reshaping, used for bending or twisting. They don’t break or fatigue.

"We have this tradition of putting our fears on a balloon and letting them go the day before, and I'm probably going to that at home since it's not going to be a team thing this time," said Bustelo.

Oh yea, at home. One of the sites for nationals this year, The Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.

"I think some of the things that would scare a gymnast who had their first major injury.. first issue.. those things don't scare her anymore because she knows she can get through it.. she knows she can come back and be even better than before."

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