Seta Artinian’s career as a gymnast started on the bars at a park in North Bergen.
“We saw that she always gravitated toward the bars,” said Seta’s mother Catherine.
Her parents showed her a YouTube video of an Olympic gymnast, and from there Seta was hooked.
Seta has now proved her fierce competitive nature with her recent first place win in All-Around Gymnastics for the Peppermint Twist Invitational, held in New Providence on Jan. 5. She also placed first in the uneven bars and first in the floor exercise, which now qualifies her for the New Jersey state championships. Seta hopes to participate in the Olympics one day.
Catherine Artinian said last week that after little Seta discovered the bars at the age of 6, “We decided to start her off in gymnastics. It started off as a hobby. She would go one day a week.”
In an attempt to show their daughter’s abilities, they viewed a YouTube video of a gymnast performing. From there, a mere hobby grew to a full blown passion for the sport.
“Gymnastics is teaching me that if I work hard and try my best, I can accomplish many things,” said Seta.
Seta is currently 9 years old and is a level 4 gymnast out of 10. Level 10 gymnasts perform in the Olympics. She trains with the USAG Girls Team of U.S. Gymnastics Leonia three days a week for three hours each day. During July and August, she trains for five days a week for five hours. Seta did not participate in the intense training this summer, so she had to work twice as hard to catch up.
“We believe that happiness in our adult life stems from doing the things that we love to do.” – Catherine Artinian
Her most recent accomplishment was winning first place in virtually all categories at the Peppermint Twist Gymnastics Invitational. Besides the aforementioned first place wins, she also placed third in vault and fourth on the balance beam.
“In this meet she really focused and was determined,” said Catherine.
“We didn’t expect anything like this when we first started; it was just for fun,” said Seta’s father, Nuran.
Seta has qualified for the Women’s Junior Olympics, New Jersey Level 4. The event will take place Feb. 9 and 10 in Cherry Hill.
“My largest accomplishments in gymnastics are scoring the highest in three events and getting the first place medal for the All-Around title,” said Seta. “Another accomplishment is making it into the New Jersey State Championships. I felt proud.”
Shaky nerves but determined student
Seta often finds it difficult to shake her nerves during competitions. She has learned to overcome the fear that at times caused her to lose focus.
“I am learning how to perform well under pressure,” said Seta. “Because of gymnastics and competitions, I am learning to overcome shyness.”
Her love of the sport is what pushes her to want to do better every time she competes. This prompted a new strategy for Seta.
“I tried to forget about the competition,” said Seta. “I was playing around [prior to the Peppermint Twist Gymnastics Invitational].”
“I get nervous for her,” Nuran said. “We just want her to focus on it and do well.”
“As long as Seta loves it, we’ll try our best to support her,” said Catherine. “We believe that happiness in our adult life stems from doing the things that we love to do. Very early on we decided that if our child shows an interest or talent, we should support them.”
Seta is an honors student in Franklin School.
Her idol is 17-year-old American gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, who earned a gold medal in both the individual and team all-around competitions in the 2012 summer Olympics.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org