Sisterhood of the Traveling Paths: Peszek Sisters Share Passion for Gymnastics
Many have heard of Samantha Peszek, the 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist in gymnastics from Geist. But what you may not know is that she has an extremely talented younger sister, Jessica Peszek, who works diligently at DeVeau’s School of Gymnastics.
“I don’t want to follow in Sam’s footsteps, I want to create my own path,” says Jessica, whose nickname is Jessie. At only 13 years old, she already is working attentively as she travels down her chosen course, one that will hopefully lead her to a gymnastics scholarship to college. Jessica has shown interest in some type of medical career.
Jessica’s competitive season did not start out the way she had planned this year. In December, she broke her ankle in three places while tumbling. The doctors considered surgery but decided to wait to see how her ankle would heal on its own. Four months later, not only was Jessica back doing gymnastics, but she competed in the Level 9 Indiana State Meet, where she won bars and placed sixth on the beam. Jessica then advanced to Regionals, where she tied for first on bars, was seventh on floor exercise and sixth in the all-around, which qualified her to compete in Eastern Championships in Tupelo, Miss., where she finished sixth on bars.
“I was just happy to make Eastern Championships this year. I was glad I could finally compete, and I didn’t have to miss the entire season,” exclaimed Jessica, who has won a state title every year since she was 8 years old.
“We’re thrilled that Jessica’s hard work is paying off,” says her proud father, Ed Peszek.
Does Jessica lead a normal life as a teen? Yes, she surely does. Just like Big Sister Sam, Jessica is very social — always hanging out with friends and planning shopping, going to movies, playing video games or boating. She is a huge daredevil on the tube, always begging to go faster and enjoying the wipe-outs.
Next year, Jessica will be a freshman at Cathedral High School, and the two sisters will share a school for one year until Sam heads off to college at UCLA where she plans to do something in the entertainment or communication fields. Sam is committed to gymnastics at UCLA but hasn’t ruled out being in the next Olympics.
The Peszek sisterhood reflects a solid relationship as they both are very supportive of one another. Jessica has gone to many competitions to cheer on Sam including Tyson American Cup, Visa Championships, Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games. In addition, Jessica has accompanied Sam on a couple unofficial recruiting trips and has a better idea of what collegiate gymnastics is all about.
Conversely, Sam was Jessica’s biggest fan at Regionals, where Jessie tied for first on bars and qualified to Eastern Championships. The girls try to attend as many meets for one another as possible. And when they cannot be present, they rely on updated scores throughout the event via text messages from their parents, Ed and Luan.
“It is so nice that both girls are top students and share a passion for gymnastics,” says Luan. “My biggest thrill was seeing both girls on the high honor roll at their respective schools…They each have a strong work ethic and know how to set goals and work hard to achieve them. We are very blessed.”