TOKYO (KLFY) — Two-time Olympian Nicole Ahsinger is originally from San Diego, but lives and trains in Lafayette while studying at UL.
In the trampoline competition at the Olympics Ahsinger finished 6th, which is tied for the highest finish by an American.
“When I ended up coming in sixth, I was just so proud of myself,” Ahsinger says. “It kind of just validated that all of my hard work is paying off.”
Ahsinger moved from San Diego to Lafayette when she was sixteen to train with Dmitri Poliaroush at Trampoline and Tumbling Express.
She had watch parties in both cities to cheer her on Thursday night – her parents and family members in California, and her boyfriend, his family, her second family, and friends here in Louisiana.
“Honestly I wanted to be at both watch parties,” Ahsinger says. I kept telling my mom and I kept telling Janet that I wanted to be there. I was so jealous they were doing this without me!”
After competing, she had over 100 meaningful messages filling up her phone.
“Everybody that had messaged me and that went to that watch party and was there supporting me was so in depth with how they feel about how I did,” Ahsinger says. “It brings me to tears. It is so amazing that so many people can be so proud of you. I’ve never had that feeling before. It’s an amazing feeling.”
One of her favorite parts of the Olympics experience was Opening Ceremonies, where you just never know who you’ll run in to.
“Walking toward Opening Ceremonies, there were all these athletes around,” Ahsinger says. “I look up and Kevin Durant is in front of me. I was too chicken to ask him for a picture. So I just lightly slid against his back. So I touched Kevin Durant.”
Even through COVID protocols with no fans or family in the stands, Ahsinger says she vowed to make the most of every moment.
“No matter what the outcome was, I was going to make sure I enjoyed every single part of the competition, of staying in Olympic Village, of training, everything,” Ahsinger says. “I tried to be as happy as I could be. I think that’s what truly helped me to get to where I am, or that helped me for this competition. I was so happy.”
So what’s next? Ahsinger will continue training in hopes of becoming a three-time Olympian.
“I am so in love with this sport,” Ahsinger says. “It still gives me the butterfly feelings I got when I was younger. I’m still learning so many new things. I’m just constantly climbing. I think that’s why I can see myself going for the third Olympic Games. It’s only three years away, so I might as well stick it out!”