This story makes me very happy, y’all. The Tide’s best all-arounder — and one of America’s best gymnasts — Luisa Blanco, has qualified for the 2024 Paris Games.
Luisa dominated nationals, and now sits at 6th overall in the entire Western Hemisphere:
Colombian gymnast Luisa Blanco is living one dream while on the verge of achieving another.
The 21-year-old made her Pan American Games debut on Sunday (22 October 2023) in Santiago, Chile, some five years after competing for the first time internationally as a senior at the 2018 International Gymnix, representing Team USA.
“It’s literally the biggest thing that I can come out here and represent where my parents are from and where my family’s from. I’ve grown up Colombian my whole life,” Blanco told Olympics.com after competition. “Despite living in the States, I’ve always had close ties to my heritage, so it’s a really full-circle moment for me.”
On Sunday night, the Tide Super Senior was able to seal the deal:
While competing for Colombia in her Pan American Games debut, Blanco was the highest scoring eligible athlete in the All-Around final after posting a 50.099 score.
The 2021 NCAA balance beam champion led the Crimson Tide to the 2021 Southeastern Conference Championship team title and back-to-back SEC titles in 2022 and 2023. Blanco announced during the spring that she would return to the Crimson Tide for her fifth and final collegiate season as a super senior for the 2024 season.
Luisa could not be more deserving. In her ‘Bama career, she has amassed:
- Balance beam national title in 2021
- 16-time All-American
- Four-time All-SEC champion — winning a title on each of the four apparatus
- SEC Gymnast of the year
- Three-time All-American.
While Colombia is not a powerhouse, and it would be a miracle of the highest order for their national team medaled in any capacity, we will be wishing Luisa personally all the best, and absolutely pulling for her. She’s earned it.