Rushton bounds through adversities


Bren Flechtner

Coppell High School sophomore Tallulah Rushton practices her routine at Texas Dreams Gymnastics on March 18. Tallulah heads to the gym from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and her training consists of conditioning, vault, beams and floor.

Shreya Beldona, Staff Writer

Through three countries, four cities and six injuries, Coppell High School sophomore Tallulah Rushton has been a dedicated and focused gymnast.

Every morning, from 7 to 11, Rushton heads into the gym strong, focused and determined. Training consists of conditioning, vault, beams and floor, each for an hour. As if the physical strain was not enough, Rushton heads into school for the rest of her schedule . On some days, she heads back to the gym after school to make up practice missed in the morning.

Growing up, Rushton lived in many different places. She was born in London and moved to Port Macquarie, Australia then to Santa Barbara, Calif. and now Coppell.

“When I move, I get a lot better,” Rushton said. “[In some places], gymnastics is a lot stricter and more disciplined. For me, moving has made my gymnastics better.”

Even though Rushton has moved, sports and being active have always been part of her life. As a young child, Rushton was involved in competitive swimming, jazz and ballet before joining gymnastics in third grade.

“[Tallulah’s] fifth, sixth and seventh birthday parties were all at gyms in Santa Barbara,” Rushton’s mother, Lucia Rushton, said. “So I knew there was some pull to the sport.”

Tallulah then had to decide between competitive swimming and gymnastics due to constant overlap between the sports. She has been practicing gymnastics ever since.

“I stopped dance because I just didn’t have time for it,” Tallulah said. “I didn’t like getting in a cold pool [to swim], and gymnastics is inside, so I wasn’t as cold. I realized gymnastics was something I never didn’t like doing, and I just always wanted to be in the gym.”

With such a hectic schedule, it may seem gymnastics takes first priority over school. However, the Rushton family places education as their first priority. Because she participates in Category 1 ( Olympic or collegiate training) for off-campus PE at gym Texas Dreams Gymnastics, her schedule conflicts with CHS school hours. Therefore, she compensates with online classes.

Tallulah has done this with six different injuries throughout her career, including a torn hamstring, broken finger, impinged rotator cuff, sprained thumb ligament, tendinitis in both ankles, plantar fasciitis and bone spurs on both feet.  

Despite her extensive injuries, Tallulah won first place all-around at two level seven qualifier competitions. Additionally, she was a state qualifier while being a level seven gymnast and while being injured as a level eight gymnast. She also placed as a regional qualifier as a level seven gymnast.

The process for recovery was difficult and time-consuming, creating doubt about whether she would return to gymnastics.

“[I think about quitting] at least once a month,” Tallulah said. “When I was out for so long, I didn’t know if I would even come back.”

Despite the uncertainty, she worked with Texas Dreams coach Stephanie Shields, who found new ways to train, such as incorporating additional core work, to keep Tallulah motivated even during the times when Tallulah could not use her arms or legs as much to practice. This included using the bicycle machine and, during her wrist injury, practicing without using her hands.

“For me as a coach, it was ‘How do I get her to stay in the game mentally?” Shields said. “As soon as your mind starts getting out of the gym, it’s going to be really hard to come back.”

Even through her hardships, Tallulah prevailed as a source of strength for her team and herself.

“Tallulah is super caring,” CHS sophomore Leanne Jojo said. “She’s a really good teammate because she’s always there if you have problems, and you can always talk to her.”

Tallulah’s perseverance and strength is not a new development.

One of Tallulah’s biggest supporters, her father Charlie Rushton, shares that Tallulah’s perseverance and hope sparked him to make a change.

“When Tallulah was young, she would hand me my cigarettes and say ‘Dada cigarette!,’” Mr. Rushton said. “I knew I had to quit and as with any habit or goal, you need to have a source of strength and for me, Tallulah was that.”

Her perseverance is evident in the nearly 30 hours that she practices every week.

With all the hours of practice and recovery, one might wonder what the end goal is.

In hopes of getting a college gymnastics scholarship, Tallulah plans to continue gymnastics throughout high school. Regardless, Tallulah still plans to participate in club gymnastics.

“Gymnastics is a sport where you have to put all of your energy and focus in to get the results,” Tallulah said. “But it’s a really fun sport. You get to feel like you are flying.”

With the passion and determination Tallulah exudes, it is no surprise gymnastics is and always will be a huge part of her life.


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