2009 World All-Around Champion & 2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan signs with Gator gymnastics

2009 World Championships all-around champion and 2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind., signed a national letter of intent with the University of Florida gymnastics team, UF Head Coach Rhonda Faehn announced Wednesday. Sloan will defer enrollment at UF until fall of2012 as she will seek her second consecutive spot on the U.S. team for the 2012 Summer Olympics, set for July 28-August 7 in London, England.

“Making this decision was by far one of the hardest of my life, and I took a long time and put a lot of thought into it, but it came down to where I felt the most comfortable,” said Sloan. “Florida seemed like the best place for me academically and for gymnastics, and I’m excited to be a Gator.”

At 16, Sloan was the youngest member of the U.S.’s silver medal-winning team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. She finished 11th overall in the all-around during team qualifying competition and contributed a 15.200 vault score in the team final.

The next year, Sloan shined on the sport’s biggest stage as she led a U.S. sweep of the top two spots in World Championships’ all-around competition. Sloan claimed the 2009 World Championship all-around gold with a total of 57.825, while teammate Rebecca Bross was runner-up at 57.775. She is the fifth U.S. woman to claim World Championships’ all-around gold and will be the first World all-around champion to compete collegiate gymnastics.

“Bridget’s accolades speak for themselves. She is one of the most accomplished gymnasts in the world,” Faehn said. “Bridget will bring exquisite artistry from her Olympic and world competitive experience into collegiate gymnastics. She was undoubtedly the number one recruit in the country and we are thrilled that she is going to be a Gator.”

Sloan will rejoin 2010 World Championship teammate Mackenzie Caquatto on the Florida team. She’s represented the U.S. National Team in 14 international competitions, including on the U.S.’s 2010, 2009 and 2007 (reserve athlete) World Championship teams. She’s claimed six Visa Championship medals (gold for 2009 all-around, uneven bars and floor; silver for 2007 floor; bronze for 2008 bars and 2006 beam).

She is an honor roll student at Tri-West High School in Lizton, Ind., and will graduate this spring. Sloan trains at Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy in Indianapolis under coach Marvin Sharp.