With sports around the state shut down, one athlete who shined and represented Socorro earlier in the year was Tatjana Castillo. A competitor who makes the trip to Gold Cup Gymnastics in Albuquerque each week, she recently competed in a major event which was presented by United States Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles, Castillo’s favorite gymnast.
“I really get excited when I learn new skills in practice,” she said. “That is what got me into the sport. Learning new things such as aerials or back hand springs for example. Being at practice as well as winning at a competition.”
Castillo began working with Eclipse Gymnastics and Head Coach Aleta Gallegos before joining Gold Cup due to the facilities in which they provided in a larger city such as Albuquerque.
Starting with tumbling at the age of two, mainly in basic movements such as cartwheels, Tatjana has been involved in competitive gymnastics for just over five years. She currently stands as a level five competitor in state competition which took her several years to achieve.
“Going to practice every day and working on strength was a big thing,” she said. “Working out and doing what my coaches needed me to do to stay ready. It’s nerve racking going up against a lot of competition. Plus the adrenaline is going. I stay focused out there because I have confidence in myself. You need a lot of energy to do gymnastics.”
Her mother, Rebecca, is the backbone of her growth and continues to aide in her daughter’s career.
“I don’t want to limit her,” she said. “The idea of the Olympics being so far fetched should be the last thing on her mind. She has the potential to do it and she catches on really quick with the skills that the coaches ask her to do. I don’t want anyone to think that because she’s from Socorro she can’t do it.
Castillo’s main plan is to work on her technique, citing her leg and toe performance on the floor. Her goal is to be an Olympian. If that does not happen, her next goal is to perform at UCLA.
“Anything is possible because I am very passionate for the sport and I put a lot of work in,” she said. “It’s a hard goal to reach. But at the same time it is my goal. I see other gymnasts compete in the Olympics and I want to be as good as they are. If I were to be in the Olympics I would be very grateful and I wouldn’t take it for granted. I would feel sad if I didn’t achieve that but all of this hard work is worth it no matter what.”
To represent Socorro and the United States is something very exciting for Tatjiana.
“It would be awesome,” she said. “You don’t really see many New Mexico people doing things outside of the state.
In 2019, Castillo was the state champion competing in the junior olympic club at G-Force Gymnastics in Rio Rancho as a ‘Leo’. She had the highest score all around in the level four division.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday you can find Tatjiana traveling to Albuquerque and working for three hours a day on her skills.