DiCello Joins Other Current College Gymnasts, Defers to Pursue Paris 2024

To say Florida freshman Kayla DiCello had a successful season would be putting it lightly. The 2020 Olympic alternate had career highs of 9.950 or higher on each of the four events, including two perfect 10s on bars, and hit as high as 39.800 in the all-around. Plus, she helped her Gator teammates to a second-place finish at the national championships just a few weeks ago. By all accounts it was a fulfilling season.

But DiCello still felt something missing.

“I had a year of college, and I’ve loved every second of it. I just want to go for my dream of going to the Olympics.”

DiCello always had elite on her mind. Even as the college gymnastics season started, she had the desire to try one more time to achieve her dream of going to the Olympics after narrowly missing out just two years prior.

The decision for DiCello was never if she was going to try for Paris but rather where she was going to train. As the college gymnastics season picked up into full steam, she gathered the information she needed from those around her to make the best decision. She called her elite coach Kelli Hill, who had previously retired, about coaching her if she decided to return to Maryland. Hill gave her OK, and DiCello had the support of her coaches at Florida, too. The biggest factor came down to the decision to go all-in. If she wanted to make a run at the Olympics, she didn’t want to do it halfway. That meant taking the year off from school and going home to train.

The experience DiCello gained from competing with the Gators will provide a boost in confidence heading into elite competition this summer. Competing so frequently helped DiCello build confidence and learn to trust her skills. She said the biggest thing, though, was that she doesn’t need to a lot of numbers to be successful. “I still will do a lot of numbers, but I’ll know that I don’t necessarily need them.”

DiCello is not the only collegiate gymnast making a run for Paris. 2020 Olympians Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles both announced that they would be leaving college to pursue another Games, and over the weekend, both Jade Carey and Leanne Wong, who were on the most recent world championships team, attend the US national team camp. Neither has said if they would defer the upcoming season. Additionally, UCLA signee Sydney Barros plans to defer her freshman season to train for Paris to represent Puerto Rico, and U.S. elites Konnor McClain and Zoe Miller have either confirmed or are suspected to be deferring as well.

READ THIS NEXT: Looking Back at the Highs and Lows of the 2023 Season

Article by Alyssa Van Auker

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