Roanoke gymnast’s career on pause due to COVID-19

Emily Overbay is a level 10 competitor at Roanoke Academy of Gymnastics

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Academy of Gymnastic’s Emily Overbay was one post season away from a potential spot on a collegiate gymnastics squad. Then, following CDC protocol, USA Gymnastics cancelled all of their events.

“It was really disappointing because I was ready to put everything I had left out there because I don’t know what my college plans are yet with gymnastics,” Lord Botetourt senior Emily Overbay said.

Overbay has been competing with the Roanoke Academy for 10 years. The proof is literally written on the walls, that deck signs with her name and accomplishments. She’s also reached the highest ranking the Junior Olympic venue at level 10, and has been there for three years.

“It’s only been a couple days and it’s finally hitting me that I will never be competing for this gym again after ten years,” Overbay said. “Which is a really hard realization because it’s been my lifestyle. I’m here 20 hours a week, every single week, all year long, and I’m just not ready to give it up and not ready to be without it.”

And as most gymnasts know, the sport takes a toll on the body. Overbay was most recently rehabbing an ankle injury, and had just attended her last physical therapy session. She said the emotions she’s feeling now are similar to being sidelined with an injury.

“It’s very similar actually but I always knew I could come back and have the potential to come back as long as I worked hard,” she said. “Even when I was injured, I could come in, do the basics, but we can’t even do that right now. So it’s like real life that it’s sort of over and there’s nothing really to look forward to.”

But even though the door to her prep career may be closing, Overbay is certain of one thing.

“I definitely know I don’t want to stop in college. I don’t want this to be my last year because I’m not ready to give it up. It’s definitely shaped me into who I am, it’s taught me to overcome any obstacle and how to persevere through pretty much anything,” she said.

“This has been my get away, no matter what, I come here and everything sort of falls back into place because of what I know. It’s my everything. I’ll never take it for granted and I learned so much and its been an amazing time here.”

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