A TEEN gymnast will take a leap of faith this weekend when she heads to America on a four year scholarship.

Mia Scott will combine studying a degree in psychology with college gymnastics at the University of Illinois.

The 18-year-old, from Shildon, has already been offered the place but sealed the deal with three A*s in her A levels at St John’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Bishop Auckland.

Mia started gymnastics classes at South Durham Gymnastics Club’s Pink Gym, at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, aged four, alongside sister, Holly, now 20.

Mia Scott with some of her early medals and trophies

Mia Scott with some of her early medals and trophies

Mia with some of her early trophies and medals

She moved up through the ranks of the club’s mini and elite squads and competed for Great Britain as a junior, in the Czech Republic, and England as a senior, in Germany.

“I started for fun, I didn’t even know how far you could go, but I fell in love with it and carried on competing to a higher level.

“When I started my A levels I found out about scholarships looked into it, the club supported me with the application, I sent my academic records, had lots of zoom chats and fly out there on Saturday.

“I’m really excited.”

Mia Scott in action on the bars

Mia Scott in action on the bars

Mia in competition

On Monday night, friends at the club surprised her with a farewell party.

Acting head coach Kelly Milnes said: “Mia was very quickly identified as someone with potential, she has talent and has always been one of the hardest working gymnasts we’ve had.

“She was quiet and shy to begin with but grew into a confident young woman, she’s an incredible team leader and a real inspiration for all the gymnasts, especially the younger ones.

“We are so proud and excited for her, she deserves this incredible opportunity and is a brilliant role model.”

Mia has only been to America once, as a little girl on a family holiday to Florida, and could not visit the campus in Urbana-Champaign due to Covid restrictions.

Dad Jason said: "We didn't want her to have any regrets in life about not doing something.

"In an ideal world we'd have been able to see the facilities but she isn't going into the unknown, she knows people from the GB squad out there which will be a big help.

"We couldn't be prouder."

Mum Louise added: "Mia, and her older sister Holly who is studying psychology at Durham, are completely self-motivated so to achieve what she has is incredible and down to her hard work."


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