At 14 they win gold and steal our hearts. By 18, they're often considered over-the-hill. Gymnastics is a sport reserved for the smallest and youngest of professional female athletes. The sport's biggest stars often find themselves caught in a time warp where nostalgic fans and media never let them grow up.
In Athens, Patterson was an underdog. Though she was among the best on the U.S. team, the favorite was Russia's
Patterson is displaying Olympic-sized expectations when it comes to her fledgling singing career. "The Grammys would be awesome," she said. "I'm very serious about this. I'm turning it into a career. And it's nice because singing is a lot less grueling on my body."
That was another consideration for a career switch. At 16, Patterson was a somersault away from a few slipped discs, and she wasn't willing to consign herself to a lifetime of back pain. Retiring, though, did nothing to quell her desire to perform, which is why she is so motivated about her music. "I love performing for people," she said. "I can't wait to go on tour and perform for people every night."
Her first album is scheduled for release on August 5 and will include a number of