Austinite and former University of Texas diver Alison Gibson says she's good at "turning off her brain."
The 21-year-old diver said it's all a mental game as she heads to Tokyo ready to represent herself, her alma mater and her country at the 2021 Olympics.
At a meet-and-greet at Orangetheory Fitness in Austin, the soon-to-be Olympian told Austonia the key to her success, aside from 12 years of hard work and dedication, is clearing her mind before each dive.
"It's really easy for doubts and fears to seep into your mind," Gibson said. "I try to just relax and have fun because the thing is, my body knows what to do, my brain knows what to do, and I just have to kind of allow that to happen."
Gibson signed autographs and took pictures with fans at OrangeTheory fitness on Mueller on Monday. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
The hard work has paid off; after starting a diving career path at age nine, Gibson became UT's first NCAA diving champion in 10 years in the one-meter competition as a freshman in 2017. She followed up with three Big 12 Championships and was named to both the 2019 USA Diving Tier Two diving team and Team USA at the 2018 FINA Diving World Cup.
Gibson said she never knew she would be an Olympian, just that she loved the sport itself.
"I just fell in love with it really quickly," Gibson. "I always had the dream of becoming an Olympian, but I was always a small goal person. As I achieved each of those goals, it led me one step closer to making the Olympic team."
Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer secured their tickets to the #TokyoOlympics after their final dive of night.@USADiving | #DivingTrials21 x #TokyoOlympics pic.twitter.com/MgG3muP6zQ
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 11, 2021
Gibson found out she was going to the Olympics alongside partner Krysta Palmer in June at the Olympic Trials. Although it took four days for the competition to end, Gibson said she knew they had punched the golden ticket as she hit the water.
"I actually kind of knew (as) I was under the water," Gibson said. "I knew that was good enough to make the team. And it was so cool, because we just came out and hugged each other. It was just a super surreal experience."
"Pinch me, am I dreaming?!"
Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer react to qualifying for the #TokyoOlympics.@USADiving | #DivingTrials21 @OnHerTurf pic.twitter.com/EjKQpuUOO4
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) June 11, 2021
While Gibson has been part of a rigorous physical training schedule—she had just finished weight training prior to the sendoff—sometimes the mental side of the sport takes just as much practice.
To separate her own self-worth from her performance, which Gibson said would be a "roller coaster," Gibson relies on her Christian faith to stay grounded. She prays before each dive and was prayed for by well-wishers at her church on Sunday.
"My identity is in Christ (and) because of that, the things that happen in diving and things that happen in life don't affect my image of myself," Gibson said. "I think that's something a lot of people kind of get caught up in at a high level, so I really wanted to make sure that I stayed humble and grounded and knew where my true identity was."
Gibson wants more than a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics; her other goal is to meet star gymnast Simone Biles.
"I'm going to be like, 'Look, we're both from Texas, let's be best friends,'" Gibson said.
On a more serious note, Gibson wants to impact young athletes on their own journey. She knows what it's like to get burnt out, and she hopes to inspire them to keep going.
"Always have fun and remember where you came from, and remember why you started doing what you're doing," Gibson said. "I love the feeling of flying, I love the feeling of hitting the water, I just love every part of it. If you can take a step back and remind yourself of the real reason why you're doing it, that really helps you keep pushing through the really hard times."
Gibson heads to Tokyo on Saturday, but there's no need to pack her bags; she'll be stocked up with plenty of Team USA gear once she gets to her first Olympic Village. The long-awaited ceremony begins less than a week later on Friday, July 24.
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Republic Square Park has turned into a Ford-themed fiesta for its Built to Connect pop-up experience, complete with test drives, off-roading and an inside look at the Tesla-rivaling electric vehicles that the motor vehicle company is planning to integrate over the next decade.
The outdoor driving event is free, open to the public and will stay in the park from now until Oct. 24, offering rides on Bronco Mountain, a 0-40 mph zip in the 2022 all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning and a chance to win an original Ford Bronco.
The event kicked off with a panel of speakers, including Austin Director of Transportation Rob Spillar, Ford General Manager Darren Palmer and engineering specialists discussing Ford's goals to make it so that 50% of the vehicles on the road are electric by 2030.
As an eco-conscious city, Spillar said that around 4,000 vehicles, or 22% of the Texas electric vehicle market, as well as over 15,000 plugins lie in Austin, meaning driving electric just got accessible.
"Austin, as you know, is a fast-growing modern city that is committed to protecting the long term health and viability of our communities and strategies that reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the drone quality of life here in Central Texas for all of our residents," Spillar said.
And Ford's electric vehicles are putting up some steep competition for newly-Austin-based company Tesla. The new electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting offer amenities that used to be exclusive to Musk's brand, such as the BlueCruise self-driving network. The cars also boast a 300-mile range on a single charge, assisted reverse technology and access to the biggest charging network outside of the home.
Plus, Ford's got affordability on its side. The F-150 Lightning starts at $39,974 and the Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895, while the cheapest Tesla model, the Model 3, starts at $41,990 and averages 262 miles on a single charge.
Speaking of price, the numbers on the electric vehicles may look like a little more than you'd like to pay for your transport, but Palmer promises it will pay off. In addition to a $7,500 tax credit you can earn for your sustainability, you'll never have to buy a pricey tank of gas again.
"Personally, I have not found one customer ever, who would go back to gas so that says something," Palmer said. "I realized, at $51,000, that car outruns every childhood hero car I ever had."
Texas buyers: take note. The Ford Lightning can power your house for three to 10 days, just in case the statewide power grid fails. You can take it glamping with you, so you don't have to leave the comfort of modern life behind, and in a pinch, Palmer said he's even seen a wedding party powered by the truck.
Ford is investing $30 billion into the U.S. market to meet demand by 2025 and the new electric truck already has over 150,000 reservations.
"I think they're going to take off much faster than you expect—they're going to be extremely, extremely popular next year," Palmer said. "With the incentives that are available today, this is starting to become more mainstream and viable for more and more families. We couldn't have done that before, we didn't have the technology, or the technology at that price."
The event is ongoing through next weekend from 12-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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The Austin Police Department is searching for a man who is believed to be behind a series of robberies that is "sexual in nature and is escalating."
Three robbery cases that took place in North Austin within a 30-day period are being investigated by police, who report the victims all had similar descriptions for suspects in the case. The suspect is described as a 20-25-year-old Spanish-speaking Hispanic man, approximately 5'3, thin build, recently shaved with black hair. Police say he is known to typically wear athletic clothing and used a knife on each of the victims.
Here's a breakdown of the cases:
1. At 7:56 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the 1600 block of Rutland Drive, a woman was walking alone and returning from her child's school when a suspect walking by inappropriately touched her. The suspect then grabbed her by the arm, threatened her with a knife and demanded "her property."
2. At 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at 1700 block of Colony Creek Drive, a woman was walking to her child's school when a man approached her with a knife and then demanded her personal items. The suspect then said he would return the items in return for sex.
3. At 11:03 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the 9300 block of Northgate Boulevard, a woman was with her child in the laundry room of an apartment complex when a man walked in performing a sexual act. The suspect demanded personal items from the victim, threatening to hurt the victim and take her child.
Police cautioned the public to walk without earbuds, stay alert and report suspicious activity to the police.
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