UF Gymnastics: Riley McCusker Defers Enrollment To Pursue Olympic Dream

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

Gator gymnastics signee Riley McCusker is deferring her University of Florida enrollment until fall of 2021. McCusker plans to continue training to pursue her hopes of representing the U.S. in next summer’s Olympic Games in Japan.

McCusker signed her national intent with the Gators in November of 2019 and planned to enroll at UF in fall of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic moved the Summer Olympic Games to summer of 2021. With the Summer Olympic Games postponement, McCusker joined other Olympic hopefuls across all sports who were forced to shift their plans.

“Starting my life as a Florida Gator in 2020 has been my ultimate goal for the past five years. I was so excited to join the amazing girls entering in the freshman class! But, when the world quarantined to protect humanity a few months ago, another big goal of mine was delayed,” McCusker said. “I have chosen this year to pursue my dream of 202One, for this opportunity will only be once in my life. After discussions with my family, club coaches, and UF coaches, I’ve decided to defer another year until 2021. I can’t wait to be a Gator!

“This year I will keep pursuing what I started 12 years ago when I took my first class and fell in love with gymnastics. I have recently made some changes to my training environment and have a revitalized love for gymnastics. I want to see how far these positive changes will take me toward my dream of making an Olympic team. Thank you Gators for always supporting me! It’s Great to be a Florida Gator!”

McCusker earned gold as a member of the U.S. team at the 2018 World Championships. A six-time U.S. Championships’ medalist–including winning the 2017 uneven bars title–McCusker is a four-time member of the U.S. Senior National Team. She won bars at the 2019 Pan American Games and also claimed silver in all-around and bronze in balance beam. McCusker trains at Arizona Sunrays in Phoenix, Ariz.

“We couldn’t be prouder and more excited for Riley! Life is too unpredictable to have any regrets, and we understand opportunities like this (the Olympics) are few and far between,” Florida Head Coach Jenny Rowland said. “She is happy and loving the sport of gymnastics, which absolutely justifies her decision to continue pursuing her Olympic dream. We look forward to the day Riley is wearing orange and blue in the O’Dome. Until then, we wish her much joy, health, and happiness along her journey to Tokyo!”

Other Future Gators:
In January, two announced they were graduating a year early to join the Gator team in 2021 – Gabrielle Gallentine and Ellie Lazzari. Two more additions for the 2021 team were revealed this spring – Chloi Clark and Alex Magee.

Another U.S. Senior National Team member announced her deferment when signing with Florida last November. Morgan Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion, is also seeking a U.S Olympic berth. She will defer UF enrollment until the 2022 season as she pursues a spot on the U.S. 2021 World Championships team.