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Good Sports: Meets and Music


By Paul Feinberg '85

Published Jan 1, 2012 12:00 AM


Mattie Larson
Photo courtesy of UCLA Athletics

According to his daughter, Eric Larson doesn't know a thing about gymnastics, but she admits she'd be lost without his contributions when competing.

His daughter is gymnast Mattie Larson, U.S. National Team and World silver medalist, who joins the Bruins this season after signing a letter-of-intent in 2009 and deferring her enrollment to continue training for the national team. Her father, an actor by trade (Mattie's mother, Gail Boggs, also acts), edits Mattie's music for her floor routine, a task he performs for the entire UCLA team. Her music, she says, "brings out that extra energy and extra push that I need to make it through my routine.

"A lot of other gymnasts, their music revolves around their tumbling. But my tumbling and dance revolve around my music," says Larson, who grew up on the same street where Bruin women's gymnastics Coach Valorie Kondos Field '87 lives. "I listen to every little note. The music helps me to know ‘breathe here, do this there.' I don't know what I'd do without my music."

Larson finished seventh in the all-around competition at the '08 Olympic team trials and the next year won the balance beam and floor exercises at the World Cup in Montreal. But she expects things to change as she makes the transition from international competitor to collegiate gymnast. Right off the beam, she says going from three or four meets per year to the meet-every-week grind of the college season will be an adjustment. And, despite her résumé, she's looking to the team's upperclassmen for guidance.

"We have some sophomores that have had great careers [and] the seniors give the best advice," she explains.