CAMPUS EDITION — Sports Babe of the Day Presents: Danusia Francis, Gymnast for UCLA, @danusiafrancis on Twitter
UCLA sophomore and former elite gymnast Danusia Francis is lighting up college gymnastics this year. Her floor routine is the perfect combination of power and great choreography, while her unique beam dismount is amazing gymnastics fans across the world. Did I mention she’s got an awesome British accent and her hair is perfect?
Danusia was kind enough to spend a few minutes on an interview with BDB.
20 Questions with Danusia Francis
1. How old were you when you started gymnastics?
I was 5 years old.
3. What drew you to compete for UCLA?2. You’ve competed in both NCAA and Elite gymnastics. What is the biggest difference between the two in your eyes?
The biggest difference is the team aspect in NCAA. That is what they emphasize and everyone is working towards a common goal. Whereas in elite, even if you’re on the same team as somebody, you are still trying to beat them.
Of course, the location! But the main thing was my recruit trip; I had so much fun and it made me so excited to come and find out what it was all about.
4. What’s your favorite apparatus to compete on? Least favorite?
Bars is probably my least favorite because when you’re doing your routine, if you don’t hit a handstand or something, you immediately know. There’s no way of playing it off which is annoying. My favorite is floor, I love to entertain people and have so much fun out there, especially in the dance!
5. Are there any stereotypes about women’s gymnastics that drive you crazy?
I think most of the stereotypes are true! We are all small and we can all do the splits!
6. How do you balance your courses and training?
You just have to stay motivated, which is hard. So many times I watch Pretty Little Liars when I should be studying! But I also make sleeping a priority, because the more tired I am, the less productive I get. I sometimes schedule my day around my naps!
7. Your beam routine had become pretty popular on the internet, how long did it take you to train that aerial-dismount combo?
I competed the aerial for the first time last year at the NCAA Beam Final. I knew could do both that and a full twist off the beam, so joining them together didn’t take too long. However, the timing has to be so accurate. The consistency is something I am still working on. It’s a little bit of luck each time!
8. How do you want to be remembered as an athlete?
I want to be remembered as a unique and entertaining performer. I mostly just hope to be remembered because there are so many great gymnasts that to be remembered is significant in itself.
9. Do you have any pre competition rituals or good luck charms?
I get superstitious and make everybody knock on wood if they say anything that might jinx us! I get really serious about that! Apart from that, I just like to keep a similar routine, such as drinking the same drink or eating the same snack.
10. What’s your favorite spot on the UCLA campus?
Theres a really peaceful botanical garden on campus that I have only been one time and always meant to go again. It has little turtles and all these plants from different countries. Its beautiful, and now that I have thought about it I will definitely go soon!
11. Do your teammates have any nicknames for you? How did they choose them?
They mostly call me Nush, which is a nickname I have had for as long as I can remember. Just a quick abbreviation of the middle of my name. Apart from that we all have popstar alter-egos and mine is Beyonce. Although, I now “share” that title with one of the freshman, Hallie.
12. Who was your favorite gymnast to watch growing up?
I loved Elena Zamolodchikova, I remember being very young watching her and wishing I was like her. Then of course Nastia [Liukin], I loved how artistic she was.
13. We’ve gotta ask- are you single, dating, or locked down?
I am single! Last year I had a boyfriend, and college is a different experience when you’re single. I’m not sure which I prefer.
14. What are some things you miss from the U.K.?
I actually miss the rain sometimes. Its strange, but its refreshing and LA gets too hot for me. I miss some foods such as baked beans, Percy pigs, Yorkshire puddings and Cadburys. Most of all, my friends, family, and my pets.
15. Name three songs that you can’t stop listening to recently.
Beyonce-Partition, YG-My Hitta, Ellie Goulding- Burn
16. When travelling, what’s one thing you’ve always gotta bring along?
Lately I don’t travel without my scarf which can also be a hat and it has gloves/pockets at the end. Its super furry, so its a great pillow on flights and keeps me warm in the cold places we are travelling to. I recommend purchasing one!
17. If you weren’t a gymnast, what sport would you compete in?
I don’t think I could excel in any other sport, but I’d love to try some kind of performing on stage. Maybe like physical theatre. I did drama at school and loved it.
19. How would your teammates describe you?There’s a lot of good food in LA, but I would say a sushi place called Yamato which we go to almost every week.
They would say I was very honest (sometimes too honest), flexible, and funny (I’d like to think).
20. Finally, who do you think we should feature as our next sports babe of the day?
I’m going to say somebody on the UCLA women’s soccer team who just brought back a National Championship! I am closest to Taylor Smith and Tayler Dragoo.
Danusia continues to light up NCAA gymnastics, and us here at BDB will be here cheering her on. Her unique skills and elegance make for great routines, and her great personality is just another reason to be a fan! Make sure to follow her on Twitter (@danusiafrancis) and check out some UCLA meets. Thanks for the interview, Danusia!