GATINEAU, Quebec - LSU incoming freshman gymnast Jessica Savona earned a trip to England for the 2012 Olympic Games in London as first alternate on the Canadian Olympic Team, Gymnastics Canada officially announced Friday.
Savona narrowly missed qualifying for the five-member squad after two days of competition at the Canadian national selection event. The Mississauga, Ontario, native earned a seventh-place all-around finish with 51.5 total points in the second meet Thursday, and she will travel with the Olympic team to London after being selected as the first alternate.
"I am very excited for her because this is the dream of most age-group gymnasts, and she loves what she does," LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. "If Jessica gets the opportunity to wear that Maple Leaf in London, I know she will compete and perform like a champion."
Should Savona see action in London, she would become the third LSU gymnast to compete at the Olympics, joining Larissa Lowing and Jennifer Wood who competed for Canada in 1988 and 1992, respectively.
Savona has shown remarkable resiliency in her return to elite competition after tearing her ACL in July 2011. She earned fourth-place finishes in the all-around at the 2012 International Gymnix Challenge in March and the Canadian Championships in May.
"The mental commitment Jessica made months ago to reach her dream has been her driving force, and I am so excited for her that she will have the opportunity to experience the Olympics and represent her country," Breaux said.
Savona signed with LSU in the spring, and she will compete for the Tigers in the 2013 season.
LSU returns 12 letterwinners, including four All-Americans, from a squad that advanced to the program's 23rd NCAA Championships.