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Behind the beam: Rebecca Wells

Toby Corriston
Wells quickly ascended to the top ranks of ACC gymnastics, earning honors on vault, beam and all-around.

The introduction of the women’s gymnastics team at Clemson University has been met with roaring success and eager crowds. Although just one season into its establishment, the program has already produced several superstars whose names have become synonymous with Team One. Leading the charge as the first face of Clemson gymnastics is none other than redshirt senior Rebecca Wells.

The Smyrna, Tennessee, native has shown herself to be a skilled gymnast across all four Olympic events: vault, bars, beam and floor. Most recently, Wells earned multiple All-ACC honors on vault, beam and all-around. The distinction is given to the top six competitors in the conference for an event, proving why she was nominated for the 2024 AAI Award for the best senior female gymnast in the nation.

Between her busy work-life balance, Wells found the time to sit down with The Tiger and answer a few personal questions.

“Checklists are what help me manage my time between school, gymnastics, and life itself,” she said. “I also try to make time for myself at least once a week to watch a movie, go on a self-date, or do some self-care to make sure I’m taking care of myself.”

Finding an appropriate balance between gymnastics, school, social life and other extracurricular activities is crucial for her success as both an athlete and a human being. A day in her life sounds exhausting, and that’s just from reading it.

“I wake up around 6:45 or 8:00 a.m., depending on when my first class is, have class and study time until about noon, then practice starting around 1 p.m. for roughly 4 hours. Some days we have lift afterwards, then I’ll get treatment and recovery, then have dinner, and either study, have meetings, or hangout with my roommates the rest of the night!”

Wells draws inspiration from many different people and places, specifically citing Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson.

“I looked up to Shawn Johnson growing up, because she was such a powerful and dynamic gymnast, and she motivated me because of how hard she worked.”

Being a Division I athlete is exhausting regardless, but in a sport as physically taxing as gymnastics, Wells recognizes the importance of devoting time to yourself.

“I don’t have much spare time, but when I do, I enjoy hanging out with my teammates, reading, being outside, and participating in different leadership/self-development groups,” she said.

Wells wasted no time getting involved once she stepped foot on Clemson’s campus after three years at Utah State. The lifespan of a professional gymnast is relatively short compared to many other major sports, so making the most of the opportunities gifted to her while at Clemson has been paramount.

“I have been a part of many opportunities Clemson has offered including Power Women’s Leadership Academy, SAAC, FCA, Tiger Leadership Academy, internships, and more. The Clemson community is so welcoming and it’s crucial for athletes to continue to grow within themselves on and off the playing field.” Wells truly embodies Clemson Athletics’ goal of shaping athletes both on and off the field (or mat).

This week, Wells is set to compete in the Tigers’ first-ever regional meet of the NCAA Championship in Gainesville, Florida. While there, fans can expect to see Wells complete her pre-meet tradition.

“The night before, I always write out my goals and visualize perfect routines. On meet day, I always watch a motivational video, get Starbucks, pray in the arena when I do walk-throughs, and I only have one superstition, which is that my Uggs we wear during the meet have to be perfectly side by side when I’m not wearing them.”

Wells has one more year with the Tigers under ACC Coach of the Year Amy Smith, who also coached her at Utah State. Stay updated on her performances through Clemson’s social media, @clemsongymnastics, on both X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram.

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About the Contributors
Grace O'Donnell
Grace O'Donnell, Sports Editor
Sydney Westphal
Sydney Westphal, Managing Editor
Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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