Remember how good Tasha Schwikert was in her prime?

I had almost forgotten until I came across some videos of her nationals performances in 2001 and 2002.  I think the images of her in 2004 were still sticking with me, because I almost a little shocked to see that she was really THIS GOOD!  It’s really amazing – and a little sad – that she never even got to win an individual world medal.  I personally think she was completely robbed of an all-around medal in 2001, and in 2002, where she was at her absolute peak, she didn’t compete at the individual worlds.  If there had been an all-around worlds that year, I bet she would have won it.

Tasha Schwikert Floor 2001 Nationals

Tasha Schwikert Beam 2001 Nationals

Tasha Schwikert Bars 2001 Nationals

Tasha Schwikert Vault 2001 Nationals

That was her first national title in 2001 – less than a year after being named a surprise replacement onto the 2000 Olympic Team.  Her confidence and physical shape that year were astonishing.  However, she was still on her way up.

Tasha Schwikert Floor 2002 Nationals

WOW.  Personally I think that’s one of the very best floor routines that have been performed in the last decade.  Incredible tumbling – I absolutely love that first pass and forgot how well she did it that year.  And she showed awesome dance skills, choreography, and showmanship.  That routine would have won the world floor title that year for sure.  How awesome would it have been for the USA team to have that floor routine in Athens?  We would have smoked Romania!

Tasha Schwikert Beam 2002 Nationals

Tasha Schwikert Bars 2002 Nationals

Tasha Schwikert Vault 2002 Nationals

That was definitely the best all-around performance of her entire career.  She looked absolutely on top of the world here, and it’s such a shame to look back and realize she never regained that kind of form and physical shape ever again.  She was a part of the gold medal world team in 2003, but her days of individual glory really ended with this national title.

By 2004, the floor routine that once seemed so spectacular and engaging was literally STALE:

Tasha Schwikert Floor 2004 Nationals

I never understood why she kept that routine for so long.  Amidst all of her down-time from high level skills because of her injuries in 2003 and 2004, why in the world didn’t she have time to find new music and choreograph a new routine?  I think it would have actually really helped resurrect her gymnastics in 2004 and give her a fresh new look that might have helped her onto that Olympic Team.  We could have really used her bars, beam, and floor from 2002 in that Olympic Team Final.  What a perfect fit she would have been.