Kyla Ross was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Jason and Kiana Ross. Her father is black and Japanese and her mother is Filipino and Puerto Rican. She has two younger siblings and attends Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, California.
Ross’s mother, Kiana, said that she was always very strong with a lot of energy, “She was born with muscles. We would go to the park and everybody would say ‘Whose baby is on top of that jungle gym?’ And I would say ‘Oh, that’s my baby. Don’t worry about her, she’s fine.'” Her father, Jason, added, “It would use all my effort to get her to sit in her car seat, and I’m a pretty big guy, a strong guy. When she was born, we were like, ‘Oh my God, she has triceps, she has quads hanging off her. What the heck’s going on?’ And she was just super strong. I mean, at an early age, she was able to walk across the monkey bars, just hanging herself.”
Ross began gymnastics when she was three years old at Greenville Gymnastics Training Center in South Carolina and later trained at Richmond Olympiad and National Gymnastics Training Center before moving to Gym-Max Gymnastics in Costa Mesa, California in 2005. Her coach, Jenny Zhang was skeptical about Ross’s future in gymnastics. She said, “She had this square body, no legs, square shoulders. Howie (Liang) said ‘Don’t worry about her. She will have long legs.'”
In March, Ross competed at the 2012 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships in Everett, Washington. She helped the American team place first and individually she placed second in the all around with a score of 59.200. In event finals, she placed second on uneven bars scoring 15.050, first on balance beam scoring 15.375, and third on floor scoring 14.375.Afterwards she said, “I don’t really pay attention to anyone before I go up, so I wasn’t really sure what happened before. I just did the beam routine as I always do it in practice. I think it was one of my better routines. I had a few bobbles, but it was pretty clean throughout, and it was better than the first one (in Friday’s team finals).” Then when asked about the Olympics she said, “There are very few spots and it’s a very slim chance, so you just have to go home and train as hard as you can every day and hope you make the team. I’m trying to get more experience as a senior and get out there and show my skills and show that I’m strong and a good competitor.”
At the end of March, Ross competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy. She won the all around competition with a score of 59.850.
Watch Kyla on Beam at the PacRim Championships
In May, Ross competed at the Secret U.S. Classic in Chicago, Illinois. She placed second in the all around with a score of 59.800. In event finals, she placed second on uneven bars scoring 15.450, fifth on balance beam scoring 14.700, and fifth on floor scoring 14.350.
In June, Ross competed at the Visa Championships in St. Louis, Missouri. She placed fourth in the all around with a two day combined score of 119.950. In event finals, she placed second on uneven bars scoring 30.850, fourth on balance beam scoring 30.100, and sixth on floor scoring 28.650. Ross said, “I’m definitely working towards the Olympic team, which is my big goal. I really want to contribute in the All Around, but I think my strengths are vault, bars, and beam, so that’s what I want to show Marta here. It’s the same Visa Championships as every other year, but with the Olympics coming up it’s obviously more of a big deal. All I want to do is go out and have a solid meet. I’ve been training routines as usual with maybe a little more emphasis on cleaning them up, so hopefully that consistency will help me have a good meet.”
At the beginning of July, Ross competed at the Olympic Trials in San Jose, California. After the first day she said, “Oh my gosh, I love the crowd. I walked in and shock went right through me. There were so many people and the crowd was just so loud. I was so thrilled to have everyone there watching the meet, but especially my friends and family. I had huge support behind me and was so happy that all of my teammates could come, and that my family could come watch me. A lot of my family from all over the country came.” She placed fifth in the all around with a two day combined score of 120.000. In event finals, she placed first on uneven bars scoring 31.150 and third on balance beam scoring 29.950. Afterwards, Ross was chosen as a member of the team that will be sent to the 2012 Summer Olympics. She said, “This is the most surreal feeling. Hearing my name called, I couldn’t even believe it.”
Kyla Ross was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the rest of the USA Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team on the July 18, 2012 issue of Olympic Preview. This marked the first time an entire Olympic gymnastics team had been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
At the end of July, Ross competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She helped the American team qualify first to the team final, and individually she qualified as the second reserve for the uneven bars final with a score of 14.866. After qualifications, Ross said, “It was definitely exciting competing here today. I was surprised I wasn’t too nervous. I thought we did well and hopefully we can come back in team finals and fix our little mistakes and do even better.” In the team final, she contributed scores of 14.933 on uneven bars and 15.133 on balance beam toward the American team’s gold medal finish. Ross said, “We all did our events the best that we could and hit our routines, and we are all really proud of each other. It was really fun watching floor. McKayla and I were together cheering as loud as we could. We were screaming so loud.”
Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney have been best friends since they were three years old. They both train at Gym-Max in Costa Mesa, California. Jenny Zhang and Howie Liang are Kyla’s coaches. Howie’s son Lenny runs Gym-Max and has known the girls for years.
Lenny compares the USA Olympics Gymnastic Team to the Arabian horses in the film Ben Hur & The Magnificent Arabians. He says Kyla is the shy and steady one and McKayla is the outgoing, fast one.
Bio information from www.mymeetscores.com and Wikipedia, per Lenny.
We will have a full interview and online chat with Kyla when she returns. We will also feature Kyla’s two coaches, Jenny and Howie. Whatever questions you have for them, please leave it below or contact us through the site.