Lexie Priessman at the Secret US Classics in 2013. Photo via USA Gymnastics
Lexie Priessman, a four year national team member and junior National Champion, announced her retirement from elite gymnastics yesterday. After an incredibly successful junior career, Priessman has spent the last two years dealing with injuries that have prevented her from competing. Instead of continuing to pursue her elite career, she has decided instead to begin her college career at LSU this fall. “I wanted to take the time personally to let all of you know I have chosen to head to college in the fall… I am so happy with my elite career and how it went, but now it’s time to move on and make some amazing memories in college gymnastics,” Priessman shared on Instagram.
Priessman made her debut as a 13-year-old at the 2010 Nastia Liukin Cup where she won the all-around. She went on to have an incredibly successful junior career, dominating on vault and floor. As a junior, she won or placed second on vault in all but one competition both in the US and internationally, competing an amanar that tied with McKayla Maroney’s in 2010.
Priessman enjoyed similar success on floor. After 2011, she won or placed second on floor in every US competition she entered. On top of her incredible power, Priessman had great showmanship on the floor. She brought a great deal of energy and charisma to her performances. She brought that same energy to the rest of the competition, brightening the entire arena with her smile and positive attitude. Priessman culminated her junior career by winning the 2012 Junior National all-around and floor titles.
The gymnastics world awaited Priessman’s senior debut with much anticipation. After such a successful junior career, she was expected to be one of the USA’s top seniors in 2013. She came out with a bang, bringing a new, mature floor routine with an incredibly high level of difficulty.
But the rest of the story did not unfold as expected. Back in 2010, Priessman had dislocated her toe during training. Instead of having surgery, she spent the next few years training and competing with a toe held together mostly with tape. “My toe would pop out nonstop because I tore every ligament in it,” Priessman said in an interview with Pressbox, “I would lean to the ride side of my foot to try to protect my toe, and then I would start hurting the rest of my foot.”
Between the Secret US Classics and the P&G National Championships, the pain became too much for Priessman to continue training on without surgery. The surgery took her out of competition for the rest of the year, dashing her hopes of making the World Championship team. In October of 2013, she committed to LSU, however made it clear that she was continuing to pursue her Olympic dreams.
After rehabilitating her toe, Priessman made another huge decision and left Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. Citing the need for a change, she left the gym where she had trained her entire career. She went to Perfection Gymnastics School to train with Enrique Trabanino, who had trained her at CGA when she was younger.
The start of 2014 seemed like it was a do-over, a time for Priessman to finally enter into the world of senior gymnastics and shine. Happy and ready to get back into things, she came to the 2014 Secret US Classics ready to compete. Then, in podium training, she injured her ankle. The injury once again required surgery, and took her out for the rest of the year.
Through her injuries, Priessman kept her spirits up. She often posted on social media with her positive perspective on life. “I’ve accomplished and learned more about myself through all these injuries then when I was healthy” she said on Instagram.
Determined towards her dreams of making the Olympics, Priessman continued training and rehabbing with plans of deferring her college scholarship until after the 2016 Olympics. However, yesterday, Priessman announced on instagram that she has decided to retire as an elite gymnast and head to college this fall.
I wanted to take the time personally to let all of you know I have chosen to head to college in the fall. As you know the last two years for me as an athlete has been extremely difficult with all the injuries I have been going through. I have been working very hard in the gym everyday to get back to 100 percent to compete again. Unfortunately, I hit some bumps that I wasn’t planning on hitting. I thought about all of the adversity I have been through and as I always say God has a plan. I have decided to go to college in the fall and begin a new chapter in my life. I want all of you to know I cant be more grateful to have been a member of the USA National team for four years. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to travel the world and help our country win gold medals. I will miss all the training camps and the knowledge everyone has taught me but more importantly help me become the young lady I am today. I am so happy with my elite career and how it went, but now it’s time to move on and make some amazing memories in college gymnastic 💜 #GEAUXTIGERS
With her team attitude, charisma and incredible talent level, Priessman will be a welcome addition to LSU and college gymnastics.