Gianna DiBella travels 40 minutes every day of the week just to get to practice.
Hard work and training, this 11-year-old gymnast says, are what have won her championships in the past, and she hopes if she’s lucky practice will get her to the Olympics some day.
DiBella has the build for gymnastics, and the medals from her record of championships over the last few years weigh her down when she wears them around her neck to pose for a photograph.
Currently training at North Stars Gymnastics Academy in Boonton, with whom she has been competing for the last few years, she has already won medals for competitions she’s been in with Rebound Gymnastic and Monmouth Gymnastic Academy.
A fifth grade student this year, Gianna is home schooled, giving her more flexibility to get to events and training, and has been a gymnast for about seven years.
Kids’ gymnastics has 10 levels, and she is currently completing her eighth level and is slated to go to the regional championships in Pennsylvania in late April.
Competitions usually test an athlete’s skills in a variety of areas such as working on bars, balance beam, floor and vaulting.
Gianna does very well in a number of areas, but does particularly well on the beam, placing in the top ten at the state meet this year.
“If I do well in the regionals, I get to go to the nationals in Florida,” she said.
While she has her gaze set on the Olympics some day, at age 11 Gianna hasn’t yet figured out a direction she would like to take as a career, although she had thought she might like to work as a coach.
“If I do well in the regionals, I get to go to the nationals in Florida.” – Gianna DiBella
A resident of Bayonne all of her young life, Gianna has already accomplished much, including setting the state record for performance on the beam. Last year, she finished first in the state for her ability to work the beam. But she also finished first for work on bars as well – and narrowly missed repeating some of these, coming up second this year.
But this was only continuing some of the amazing work she did when she started out at level 4, when she was both bar and beam champion.
She admits that training and competing are hard work, but it is something she likes to do.
Her mother drives her to training sessions and back every day, part of a family ritual and support network that has given Gianna a solid foundation from which she can confidently compete.
Videos on YouTube show Gianna as poised and confident in her performances, landing in proper form as judges take note of her abilities.
Will she wind up in Florida later this year for the national gymnastics competitions? Will she eventually get to the Olympics? Time will tell. But Gianna is determined to do the best she can.