Gabby Gladieux: A gymnastics freshman with big impact

Abby McCreary, Assistant Sports Editor

Eleven-year-old Gabby Gladieux dreamed of wearing the Script A while tumbling and vaulting across the floor of the Coleman Coliseum. After years of competing in her home state of North Carolina, the Junior Olympics and the Nastia Liukin cup, Gladieux finally stepped into Coleman on Jan. 6, as an Alabama gymnast and the only freshman competing in a Script A leotard for the Alabama gymnastics season opener.  

“To just come in, feel the energy of the crowd, the energy of my best friends besides me, it was quite literally a dream come true,” Gladieux said that night.   

Since Jan. 6, Gladieux has competed in all three of her events at every Alabama meet this season: vault, balance beam and floor exercise. In Week Two, she was even named the SEC Freshman of the Week for her performance against then-No. 16 Arkansas. 

Head coach Ashley Johnston said the freshman is an important member of the Crimson Tide roster.  

“I hope the world can see that Gabby Gladieux is a stud,” Johnston said. “She’s got big things coming this year. I think people should be excited to watch her compete throughout the year.” 

Gladieux hasn’t scored below a 9.725 in any routine this season and has been steadily improving with each meet. In the last two competitions, she’s tied and set career highs across all her events. In her floor routine, she has tied or bested her score in every meet of the season, culminating in her current 9.950 record set at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, last weekend.  

It was the Power of Pink match, though, that held the most significance for the freshman.  

During the introductions, each Alabama gymnast handed a breast cancer survivor a bouquet of flowers before walking with her across the floor. For Gladieux, it was an opportunity to escort her mother in the arena she calls home. 

“My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Being able to walk out with her was a dream,” Gladieux said. “Growing up, the pink meet has always held a special place in my heart, so to be able to walk out with her and compete for her and the other survivors was very special.” 

After tying her career best on the beam (9.875) and setting a new career high on the floor (9.925) at that meet, Gladieux has only soared. At the Metroplex Challenge, she not only scored a new personal best on the floor, but tied her vault career high as well with a 9.875. 

Senior Makarri Doggette, who competed with Gladieux at the Nastia Liukin cup before the pair reunited in college gymnastics, said she’s noticed the freshman’s incredible debut season. 

“I’ve been raving about this girl since she got here,” Doggette said. “She’s the most amazing human being. I couldn’t be more proud of her.” 

Johnston said that while Gladieux’s contributions to the Crimson Tide’s meet scores have been impressive, they’re far from the gymnast’s most notable qualities. 

“Gabby continues to be a dynamic force on this team,” Johnston said. “Not only gymnastically but I think you can see her presence just fills the arena. She hits a big routine and then chest bumps a teammate. She’s got this confidence that exudes and spreads from person to person.” 

With a little less than half the season left and the road to postseason already on the horizon, the freshman has an exciting year — and Alabama career — ahead.  

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]