King, a dual-major in Geography and Telecommunications, is finishing up her degree and graduates in August 2014. However, she is no longer eligible to compete after being on the team from 2010 to 2013.
While competing for UF, King helped the Gators to a national championship in 2013, SEC championships in 2013, 2012 and 2010, is an 11-time All-American and was the 2011 NCAA vault champion, according to Gatorzone.com.
She said she has no doubt that the 2014 team can achieve the same kind of success because of the potential and the amount of talent they have. Her goal as a coach is to help them accomplish those goals.
“Knowing that I’m still helping towards that but in a different way is really cool too,” King said.
She describes this year as a nice transition for her. She has been doing gymnastics her entire life, and is now finished with her competitive career. She was told that this may be a difficult time for her, but she has been taking it fine. King says this is because there was no better way her career could have ended and because she still gets to be involved with the team.
“It’s nice to step back and see, and it’s nice to have a different role being on the sidelines and being that cheerer, that motivator,” she said. “Helping in different ways than actually being a competitor is different, but it’s nice. I enjoy it, and I’m very happy to still be here seeing the girls go through season and compete.”
King said her role as a coach is to help out wherever she is needed. She is an extra voice of encouragement in the gym. She is there to help if anyone needs mats or boards and to watch gymnasts’ routines to help put them in a competition setting.
“The team is kind of small this year. It’s good to have another body, another voice in the gym cheering through practices,” she said.
She said she’s more relaxed before meets this year because she’s not as nervous as when she had to compete, but she still feels the same excitement for the girls this year. This is especially when they’re getting “pumped up” in the locker room and when they run out in front of the fans.
King said her most difficult moment was at the first home meet when the team was doing their introduction. It was hard for her to not be a part of it because she loved it and loved performing in front of the home crowd.
“Now I enjoy it. I have fun with it,” she said. “I still share that excitement with them and I still get that buzz.”
King said she does not plan on coaching as a career. She says it’s an option, but doesn’t see it for herself in the long run. Her current aspiration is to perform for Cirque de Soleil. She is still training and staying in shape to prepare for that.
“That will be kind of like gymnastics but performing and entertainment and acrobatics,” she said.
King has also been working with GatorVision, which records video of all UF athletic events, to gain experience in the telecommunications field. She has a behind-the-scenes role with them doing production and film editing. She said she is enjoying that and would not rule out a future working with GatorVision.
She said she knows she wants a career in the media but does not have any concrete plans. She loves to travel and wants to visit places across the US such as: New York City, Las Vegas, California and the Grand Canyon.
She’s excited to kick off her travels with her first-ever Caribbean cruise with her family right after her graduation this summer.
King said that it’s scary graduating and not knowing what the future holds, but she’s learned it’s important to do what she loves and intends to do just that.
“I’m ready to start a new chapter and to see what more life has to offer me,” she said.