SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Olympic gold medalist and onetime Grafton resident Shannon Miller paid a visit to the Gymnastics Learning Center in Shrewsbury on Thursday and delivered some words of wisdom to the center's young gymnasts.
The 1996 Olympic gold medalist's visit was done, in part, to promote the gymnastic international invitational American Cup event March 2 at the DCU Center in Worcester.
It was also an opportunity for Miller, 35, to meet with young gymnasts and speak about goal setting, determination and other life lessons that can be applied on and off the gym mat.
"I know what good things (gymnastics) can do for children," she said. "It's important for me to talk to kids about staying active. But other than that, it's just nice to keep kids excited about the sport. And with last year's Olympics, that's not had to do. These kids all have dreams. Whether it's in gymnastics or in something else, the lessons that they learn in this sport can help them in the rest of their lives."
Miller took the time to answer questions from youngsters, including Alexis Abreu of Northborough, who got some advice on how to cope with the fear that can come with competition.
"Sometimes I have fears, and I love how she had ideas for me to help with my gymnastics," Alexis said. "I thought it was wonderful, because it's just an awesome experience to talk with an Olympian."
Since her debut in 1990, Miller has earned seven Olympic medals and nine world championship medals –more than any other American gymnast.
From 2003 to 2007, Miller lived in Grafton while earning a law degree from Boston College. She said she missed the ice cream and pizza place she frequented near her Grafton home, though she could not remember its name.
In 2007, she began the Shannon Miller Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. She is married, has a 3-year-old son and is expecting a second child in June.