Lizzy LeDuc: Filipino-American Gymnast

Lizzy DeLuc, Easter 2015, in a post from her Instagram page

Elizabeth “Lizzy” LeDuc was born on March 2, 1997, in San Diego, California, to Connie and Henry Leduc. Lizzy is half Filipino, a dual citizen of America and the Philippines. Lizzy, along with her five siblings, was homeschooled in Dallas, Texas, for most of her formative years except 3rd grade and 10th grade.

Lizzy has four sisters – Crystal, Michelle, Tiffany, and Niki-Lynn – and one brother, Cyril. All of Lizzy’s siblings have been high school sports champions. Her older sister Crystal used to be a competitive gymnast. Michelle won the Junior Olympics National Championship in taekwondo. Tiffany competed in pole vaulting. Niki-Lynn runs both cross country and track. Cyril, 14, is a Southern Texas PGA junior golfer.

From the time she was little, Lizzy had always enjoyed doing cartwheels, tumbling, and performing in front of people in church and at home. Although most aspiring gymnasts begin training at Level 1 between the ages of four or five, Lizzy didn’t start taking gymnastics classes until she was seven but then she advanced rapidly to Level 7.

Lizzy started gymnastics at Mihaiuc Gymnastics in Webster, Texas. In 2006, Lizzy switched to Woodlands Gymnastics Academy in The Woodlands, Texas. In 2009, Lizzy moved up to Level 10 and was crowned the 2009 Junior Olympic National champion for the Junior A division. After the Junior Olympic season, she qualified to Junior International Elite status and competed at the 2009 CoverGirl Classic; finishing 20th. Later, Lizzy advanced to Nationals.

After the 2009 Nationals in which she placed 21st, Lizzy moved to the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy where she trained under Valeri Liukin and Dina Kamalova. The following season, she participated in the club’s annual meet, the WOGA Classic, finishing 5th all-around. Soon after, she took home 14th all-around at the 2010 CoverGirl Classic, and then 20th at Nationals. She was a member of the National Team Training Squad.

Lizzy won the 2011 Houston National Invitational, but was forced to sit out the rest of the season due to injury after she sprained both of her elbows. Lizzy switched to Zenith Elite gymnastics in late 2011 where she trained under Tatiana Schegolkova and Anatolie Toropov. Lizzy also sat out the 2012 season. “Gymnastics takes a big toll on your body,” Lizzy said. She moved to Metroplex for the 2013 season and finished fourth all-around at Junior Olympic Nationals in the Junior D division. In 2014, Lizzy was State and Regional Champion, and she placed second all-around at the 2014 Junior Olympic Nationals.

In 2014, Lizzy tried out and made the Philippine National Team. In May of that year, she ranked #1, but then she broke both of her feet and she was out for 12 weeks – no competing, no training, no gymnastics. Although she thought of quitting, her father encouraged her to stick with it. Just months after having surgery on both feet, Lizzy participated in her first international competition – the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, held from June 5-16 in Singapore. LeDuc won a bronze medal with the team. During the all-around final, Lizzy finished 6th.

According to The Daily Herald, Lizzy found that being homeschooled was an advantage when she became a serious gymnast.

“I used to want to go to school and be a normal kid,” LeDuc said. “But (in high school) I started going to this gymnastics center where I was training every day, twice a day. It was intense, and I realized that home-schooling really worked for me.”

“I think home-school has actually helped me (be a better gymnast). It’s helped me be on my own, and sometimes you’re on your own at the gym and you have to be a self-starter.”

LeDuc was on an educational program in which she taught herself material by watching DVDs. She completed online assignments and sent them to a school in Florida that would give her grades and track her progress.

“I loved being home-schooled. I think it got me ready for college.”

Lizzy was originally thinking of attending Louisiana State University. But in the fall of 2015, she accepted an offer from the University of Illinois and signed the National Letter of Intent to compete on the Illinois Fighting Illini women’s gymnastics team. Lizzy is currently a sophomore studying Advertising at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Lizzy leads the Illini with 18 individual event titles this season. She sits at No. 25 on beam and floor in the NACGC/W national rankings. On March 13, 2017, Lizzy was one of four members of the Illinois women’s gymnastics team named to the Big Ten All-Conference teams. This honor is the first of Lizzy’s career. “The All-Big Ten teams are a reflection of one’s hard work, determination and consistency over the course of the season,” said head coach Kim Landrus.

When she isn’t practicing, training, competing, or studying, Lizzy likes hanging out with friends and watching Netflix. She wrote in her school blog, “My life has been full of surprises, some good and some not so good. I wouldn’t change one thing because everything I’ve gone through has made me the person I am today.”

Lizzy LeDucPhoto courtesy of University of Illinois Athletics


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