Nebraska Gymnastics features first Italian collegiate gymnast

Nebraska Gymnastic features 1st Italian collegiate gymnast
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 8:31 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For some student athletes can attend college in their hometown or they can choose to go further. One Nebraska gymnast is more than 5,000 miles from home, and she’s the first from her country to do it.

Clara Colombo is from Italy. They don’t have college athletics, but she wanted to keep competing. She committed to Nebraska and made herself the first Italian gymnast to compete in NCAA college athletics.

“(I’m) Just really excited because it’s something really new to me,” Colombo said. “Nobody did it before me, and I would just see the videos on YouTube and think “that looks so cool.”

“It kind of begins to open up the doors or the eyes of these younger athletes who are able to look at them as role models,” said Heather Brink, Nebraska Head Coach.

Colombo competes mainly on the beam and bars, and the bars are her favorite.

One of the biggest challenges of coming to the U.S. was learning the English language.

“(I’d say) Hey do a cartwheel.. but they don’t call it a cartwheel in Italy.. like it’s something different,” said Brink.

Now as a junior, Colombo isn’t the only Italian on the team. Sophomore Martina Comin also made the trek after connecting with Clara about participating in college athletics.

“It’s such a great opportunity and I feel like people didn’t have the information three years ago when I got here,” said Colombo. “They can actually have the opportunity to come here and I think it’s such a great experience.”

Nebraska meet against Illinois for Thursday night has been postponed due to illness within the Fighting Illini program.

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