LOCAL OLYMPIC HOPEFUL: BRITTANY VIOLA
Brittany Viola was born April 19, 1987 in St. Paul, Mn. Viola isn’t just your average University of Miami graduate, while majoring in electronic media and sports administration, Viola, 25, was also training to be a part of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. This very week, Brittany and other Olympic hopefuls will be at the U.S. trials (June 17-24) in Federal Way, Wash.
But just before leaving her Miami home, we were able to chat and get some one-on-one girl time. Here’s the scoop…
Who is Brittany Viola? Tell our readers:
“Hello readers! We’ll, I am Brittany Viola and I grew up in Orlando, Florida. I graduated from the University of Miami, and my entire life I have been pursuing the Olympics. This Olympic dream was sparked when I was 8-years-old and I was at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta when I saw the Magnificent Seven in gymnastics win a team gold medal and realized I wanted to achieve that someday. At the time, I was a gymnast, but I retired at the age of 13. Training for eight hours a day wasn’t fun. I got tired of it and I wanted to have a life outside of gymnastics. I transitioned into diving and realized that I could still use some of my gymnast abilities, while at the same time continue to pursue my Olympic dream.”
How has your diving journey been thus far:
“It’s been almost a 12-year journey and it has been extremely difficult, full of many challenges. The first challenge I faced was an eating disorder that I developed at the age of 16. I began to compare myself to other divers and I realized I wasn’t as thin as them. We didn’t have the same body type so I began to try out different diets. Basically, I was trying to become the image that society and the world was displaying and it just made me fall into the eating disorder even more. Pressure surrounded me. My parents were never quite satisfied with my competition results, it seemed like they always wanted more and more from my career. I felt like I could never satisfy all of these expectations. Finally in 2005, I went to an inpatient care hospital called Remuda Ranch, it was a faith-based Christian facility that my mom picked out. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, but I was open to getting help. That was where I eventually accepted God into my life, but I didn’t really understand what it meant to be a believer of Christ until my sophomore year of college; one of my teammates walked me through the process. I started growing in my faith and then I was hit with yet another obstacle: I had two ankle surgeries. This happened in November 2009 and August 2010, and I was completely out of diving for a year and a half. I had no idea whether I would recuperate and get back in the sport, but God taught me to have faith. And He also made me realize that I could do a lot more than just dive. I wasn’t just Brittany the diver. At this point, I was ready to move on with my life and continue regardless of the circumstances. Luckily, God allowed me to heal and I’m back in the sport heading to the Olympic trials.”
What would making the Olympics mean to you?
“Whenever I think about making the Olympics, I see it as a miracle. It’s something that has been in my heart and mind for so long, so to see it come true doesn’t seem possible. For me to be this close, and to have this great chance to make the team and represent the U.S. is definitely a miracle. Winning the gold medal, would be just ridiculous to me! I would give God all the glory.”
What would be your advice to other young women who are trying to reach a lifetime goal?
“The word that comes to mind is persevere. One of the verses that has helped me in this journey is James 1:2-4. It says “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I love that verse and I love that if we keep persevering and pushing through hard times we’ll become the person that were meant to be.”
What support can your community give you as you reach this dream?
“Well, I know that I wouldn’t have this opportunity at all if it wasn’t for my Lord and Savior, and my purpose in diving is to glorify Him in all I do. I’m here to reflect all that He has given me and share it with the world so that they can experience the joy, hope, and peace that I have in Him… So honestly, the best way that others can support me is through prayer. Pray that I keep my eyes only on Him.”
What’s in store after the Olympics?
“I’m really excited for what’s to come after the Olympics…
I want to get married!
I want to marry Anthony Gonzalez!”
I hope this interview allows you to have a personal look into her life. She’s not only an amazing athlete, she’s also a wonderful friend with a heart of gold. Hope you’ll cheer her on.
Brittany is currently looking for sponsors. If you’re interested in having Brittany be your brand’s ambassador or you’d like to book her for an on-air-appearance email us, we’d love to hear from you.
Want to know more about Brittany? Check out this awesome CNN feature:
Photography by: Deidre Novotny & Diego Espinosa