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Sacramone’s passion for helping childrchildren led her to be a

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GA: After Beijing, you went fromthe U.S. women’s gymnastics team’s “social and spiritual leader” to a “tragic figure.” Have you found inner peace yet about the whole experience?

AS: It just gets better with time. I’mstill a little bit like, Oooh,

they overexaggerate the whole “tragic figure” thing. I mean, c’mon. I’mlike, I’mwalking out with all of my limbs. I think it was a good day.

GA: You mentioned that you might retire, given your body’s battle wounds. Tell us about some of your injuries over the years.

AS: I had a bulging disc in my back. I was 16 and in driver’s ed in one of those back braces all summer. I was sweating—it was horrible. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t even open a door. I could turn my armand hurt my back. It was crazy. I tore my meniscus in my knee twice. I probably broke every bone in my fingers and toes at least once. I pulled the labrum in my shoulder. I popped my kneecap out. I tore all of the liga- ments in my ankle in January 2008. The stuff you subject your body to is almost comical. Your body gets beat up really bad.

GA: Speaking of your body, “Alicia Sacramone is hot” was one of Google’s most popular searches last year.

AS: (Laughs) I thought, That’s kind of cool. I got Googled a lot.

But then I was like,Wait a minute.Who’s Googling me? Oh, no.

You have to take it with a grain of salt.

GA: As you flex your creative muscles, does the lasting focus on your body bother you?

AS: Not really. Every now and then someone will say, “Oh, you have the best traps.” I’mlike, “Uhhh…thank you?” What do you say to that? (Laughs) And they’re like, “Well, how did you get them?” There’s not one particular thing I did to get my traps to look like this.

20 IHRSA | wwwhealthclubs.com

GA: You were called your team’s “powerhouse.” Did you want to be the strongest girl?

AS: Oh, no. I think that’s just genes.My coach [Mihai Brestyan] is also very, very smart when it came to conditioning me and getting me in shape and strong. I owe a lot of that to him.

GA: How tough has it been to project a healthy body image with the media and public critiquing female gymnasts’ looks from head to toe?

AS: People forget that we’re just normal girls. They think that we’re made of stone, like you can say things that are hurtful to us and that we don’t get affected by it. Even when I was dating my boyfriend, people would say things about me to him. He told me, “I got into one or two fights because of you.” The media spotlight definitely took its toll on our relationship.

GA: How have these experiences prepared you for careers in fashion and entertainment?

AS: Gymnastics definitely made my skin very thick. So I think it was definitely a good foundation for me to have before coming out to Los Angeles. I can take a lot. You can say a lot of stuff to me and it really won’t phase me.

GA: Is hosting a TV series your ultimate goal?

AS: I definitely don’t want to rule anything out. I want to try everything. I have that kind of personality where I’ll give every- thing a shot once.We’ll see how it goes. I think TV would be really cool, because I’mnot a very shy person and I feel com- fortable in front of a camera, because usually I’monly wearing a leotard, so now that I’mdressed it’s so much easier. 

ChrisMann is a writer and editor of the pop culture webzine Retroality.TV.

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