Courtney Anne Kupets (born July 27, 1986 in Bedford, Texas) is an American gymnast. She is best known for her 2003 and 2004 all-around national championships (with Carly Patterson as co-champion in 2004); her membership on the 2002 and 2003 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and 2004 Olympic teams; and her individual bronze medal on the uneven bars at the 2004 Olympics.
She attended the University of Georgia, joining her older sister, Ashley Kupets, as a Georiga Gymdog. During her time at UGA, from 2005-2009, the Gymdogs won 4 NCAA National Championships. She served the 2009-10 season as a student assistant coach to new head coach, former assistant coach, Jay Clark.
She is not the only athlete in her family. Her father was a college football player at Indiana State University and her younger brother Chris recently became a college basketball player at University of Utah. Her sister Ashley was also an elite gymnast and Georgia Gymdog.
While the uneven bars is considered to be Kupets' best apparatus, she excels on the other events as well. During her elite career, her balance beam routine was valued at a 10.0 start value, the same as her bars routine. Her lowest-valued skill was her Podkopayeva vault, which had a 9.7. start value under the 2001-2005 Code of Points. Kupet's floor exercise routine was valued at a 9.9 usually - until 2004, where she had a 9.8 Start Value routine. She also had a reputation as one of the USA's most versatile tumblers, performing, at various points in her career, the double layout, triple twist, double Arabian, double front, double pike and various combination tumbling passes.
Early Gymnastics History
Kupets began competing in gymnastics in 1989, earned a place on the TOPS developmental team in 1994, and tested elite in 1999. One of the first gyms she trained at as an elite gymnast was Richmond Olympiad Gymnastics Academy in Richmond, Virginia along with her older sister. At her first US National Championships, in 1999, she placed eighth in the junior division and became a member of the national team.
In her first year as a senior competitor, 2002, Kupets placed a close second in the American Cup competition, behind Olympian Tasha Schwikert, and placed eighth at Nationals. Nonetheless, her selection to the US team for the 2002 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Debrecen, Hungary was seen as a surprise by many. At Worlds, Kupets passed all other competitors, including five-time defending champion Svetlana Khorkina, to win the uneven bars event, making her only the second American woman ever to achieve the feat.
In 2003, Kupets won the US Classic and became the U.S. national champion for the first time. She was named to the US team for the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, California. At Worlds, Kupets competed well in the team qualifying round, contributing to the USA's high placement and qualifying to the all-around and uneven bars final. However, during a practice session before the team finals, Kupets tore her left Achilles' tendon on a double Arabian somersault and was forced to withdraw from the event, returning home to Maryland immediately for emergency surgery. The US team went on to win the World Championships; Kupets was still considered a member of the squad and received credit and a medal for her contributions in the preliminaries.
In 2004, Kupets was named the co-national champion with Patterson in Nashville, Tennessee. A few weeks later, Kupets placed highest overall at the U.S. Olympic trials, earning a spot on the Olympic team.
2004 Olympic Games
At the Olympics in Athens, Greece, Kupets won a silver medal with her fellow U.S. team members in the team all-around competition. It had originally been decided that she would compete on each of the events aside from vault; however, after a leg injury (later discovered to be a stress fracture in her hip) caused her to be suddenly withdrawn from beam, her position was given to veteran teammate Mohini Bhardwaj. Kupets therefore competed only on bars and floor. She received the team's highest score on uneven bars with a 9.662 out of a 10.0 start value — putting the U.S. team temporarily ahead of eventual winner Romania in the standings — but also received the lowest on floor exercise with a 9.187 after faltering on a dance combination while trying to turn on the opposite leg she normally performs the skill with.
Kupets competed in the individual all-around at the Olympics after placing 4th overall (37.937) in the qualifying round on the first day of competition, when the team qualifications also took place. In the all-around itself, Kupets under-performed somewhat, perhaps because of her injury. She finished 9th overall in the all-around with a score of 37.112, a little over one point behind the winner, Patterson, who scored a 38.387. A highlight was her close save on beam, where a wobble after a jump saw her very nearly fall, but she regained her composure. Nevertheless, she incurred a hefty deduction, scoring less than 9 for the routine. This, as well as a step out of bounds on the floor exercise, where she scored only 9.237, prevented her from challenging for medals. As usual, her highest scoring event was the bars, where she received a 9.625; Kupets also scored a 9.275 on the vault (out of a 9.7) after taking a step with her landing. Although she had not been expected to medal after her injury, Kupets said after the event that she was happy she had competed regardless.
Kupets won the bronze medal in the individual uneven bars competition with a score of 9.637, behind Émilie Lepennec of France (9.687) and fellow American gymnast Terin Humphrey (9.662). Kupets also finished 5th in the individual balance beam competition with a score of 9.375 out of a 9.8. She did not qualify to compete in the individual floor exercise and vault competitions.
Post-Olympics and NCAA Career
After returning from Athens, Kupets quit elite level gymnastics and traveled across the United States with other gymnasts on an exhibition tour sponsored by retailer T.J. Maxx.
In 2005 she joined the gymnastics team at the University of Georgia on full athletic scholarship. Kupets had a very successful first season with UGA, contributing to the team's first-place finish at the 2006 NCAA National Championships and winning the all-around, bars and beam titles at the same meet. She has debuted some new skills in NCAA, including a new double layout dismount off of bars. She also joined the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.
During the 2007 season, she received a 10.00 on the uneven bars while competing against the University of Alabama. It was the first 10.00 on the bars for Georgia since 2002 and the first 10.00 of Kupets' career. Her bar routine now features a toe-on Tkatchev (Ray) to immediate bail and is considered one of the most difficult bar routines ever attempted in NCAA competition. Kupets tied teammate Katie Heenan for the all around title at the 2007 SEC Championships with a total of 39.600. Kupets earned the vault and bars titles with scores of 9.975 and 9.925 respectively. Despite numerous individual successes, the Gym Dogs were unable to capture their fourth-consecutive conference crown, losing to Florida. After this disappointment, Kupets led her team to the North Central Regional Title and was able to capture the All Around title despite having to deal with the distraction of her older sister tearing her Achilles tendon during the warm up for floor exercise, ending her career. As the winners of the regional, the Georgia team qualified again to Nationals.
Two weeks later, the Gym Dogs competed in the afternoon preliminary session against Florida. They defeated Florida in a surprising upset due to recent Gym Dog injuries and the overwhelming notion that Florida would easily walk away with the NCAA Championship after a consistent season. Kupets scored a 39.75 on day 1, scoring a 9.9 on beam and 9.95's on bars, floor and vault. This score held as the top all around total in the meet and earned Kupets her second consecutive NCAA All Around Title. Ashley Postell of Utah was once again the runner up. The Gym Dogs dominated the Super 6 finals, scoring a 197.85 and earning the team their third-consecutive NCAA Team Championship and 8th National Championship overall. Kupets ended her weekend by earning the NCAA Individual Vault title. She accomplished this by successfully competing a Yurchenko Full as her second vault, which she was unable to practice all year due to a foot injury. This marks Kupets' fifth individual NCAA title and seventh overall. Kupets rounded out her weekend by nabbing three more medals- silver on bars and floor, and a bronze on beam. Kupets was the only gymnast to medal on each of the four individual events.
Kupets tore her right Achilles tendon on floor exercise during a meet against Arkansas in March 2008, the second such injury she has suffered in her career. She was out for the remainder of the season, which saw her Gym Dogs win their fourth consecutive NCAA title.
The 2009 season got off to a fantastic start for Kupets, who was named SEC Gymnast of the week the first four weeks of the season and won the all-around for seven straight meets. Against Alabama Kupets had perhaps the best meet of her regular-season collegiate career, recording a then career-best 39.825 to win the all-around and achieving perfect 10.00 scores on uneven bars and on beam. After failing to win the all-around for the first time all season against Arkansas, Kupets returned to form and was named SEC Gymnast of the Week for the fourth time in the 2009 season after Georgia's home meet against Florida, in which she scored the first perfect 10.00 of her career on floor en route to once again winning the all-around title with another then career-best of 39.850. Though the Gym Dogs faltered at the SECs and suffered their only defeat of the season, Kupets again claimed the all-around title and was named SEC Gymnast of the Year. She led the Gym Dogs to a win at Regionals with another all-around win and a 10.00 on vault, giving her 10.00s on every apparatus in the 2009 season. At the NCAA championships, she became national all-around champion for a record-tying third time, earning a 10.00 on beam en route to defeating runner-up Kristina Baskett of Utah with a 39.800, thus winning the all-around in all but one 2009 meet. The night afterward, Kupets played a central role in helping the Georgia team win their fifth consecutive and tenth overall NCAA championship, posting a career-best 39.900, with 10.00s on the uneven bars and vault bringing her 10.00 season total to seven, and her career total to eight. At the individual event finals, she won the bars and beam titles (beating fellow Gym Dog, 2004 Olympic Teammate, and best friend, Courtney McCool on beam), tied to win floor, and placed third in vault, giving her a new NCAA record of an unprecedented nine individual NCAA titles to end her college career. Kupets is the only NCAA gymnast ever to win the all-around and every individual event. On June 22, 2009 Kupets was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is given to the top female college athlete.
|1999||Junior U.S. Classic||4||3rd|
|Junior John Hancock Championships||8|
|2000||Junior American Classic||3rd||3rd||2nd|
|Debrecen World Championships||1st|
|Anaheim World Championships||1st|
|U.S. Olympic Trials||1st||1st||2nd|
|Athens Olympic Games||2nd||9||3rd||5|
2002-2003 - "Dzaghig Es" by Harout Pamboukijan