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Heidi Moneymaker, Gymnast

  • By Stuart Wolpert
  • Published Jan 15, 2001 8:00 AM

In 1998, gymnast Heidi Moneymaker became UCLA's first female NCAA uneven bars champion. But there was nothing uneven about her career as a Bruin: She's the only woman in school history to have won NCAA gymnastics titles in each of her four years, including team championships in 1997 and 2000 and individual titles in the bars in 1998 and the vault in 1999. And that's just a small part of an athletic resume that includes competing in the 1999 World University Games and two nominations for the Honda Award, which honors top female college athletes.

Moneymaker, one of seven children, started filling that resume at an early age. "I was about 5 years old and I was bouncing off the walls, running around, being hyper, and I think my parents just thought gymnastics would be a good way to get my energy out," Moneymaker says with a laugh.

The young gymnast quickly advanced to a club team in Santa Rosa, CA, and started competing in meets, winning state and regional championships and earning her first national titles in her junior and senior years of high school. Around that time, she started thinking about competing at college.

"Usually when you're younger, your thoughts aren't on college; they're on the Olympics and the national team," says Moneymaker. But then UCLA came calling. "I went on a recruiting trip and I fell in love with it. There was no other place I wanted to go."

With her athletic eligibility behind her, Moneymaker is working toward completing her degree in history while concentrating her extracurricular efforts on The Center of Energy, a personal-training business she started with another former Bruin gymnast, Dee Fischer.

"I've had so much of gymnastics, I'd like to have a little time away from it," says Moneymaker, who doesn't discount the possibility of someday teaching the sport in which she's excelled. "Doing the personal training is something that's similar but different. I can still keep the athletic aspect of my life going, but I don't have to be in a gym every day."

Since graduating from UCLA, Heidi Moneymaker has been a stunt double in many television shows and blockbusters such as CSI and Spider Man 3. - (Updated 1/07)