IOWA CITY, Iowa — The GymHawk family legacy lives on through relationships and a mentality of life that has been enforced by head coach Larissa Libby for 20 years. “It is important to me to sustain those relationships because I need them to understand where they came from,” Libby explained. “I don’t think you can go ahead if you don’t know where you’ve been.”
Libby brought this mindset the moment she stepped on campus as an assistant coach in the early 2000s.
“Coach Libby joined the Iowa women’s gymnastics team staff towards the end of my collegiate career,” alum Kathryn Kahn said. “She positively impacted my experience inside the gym, without a doubt, but her guidance and passion to ‘do what you love’ has continued to drive me outside of the gym as well.”
The relationships that are built in the gym between Libby and the student athletes that she has coached and continues to coach follows the young women beyond their years at Iowa.
“Being an athlete at the University of Iowa to me means more: more opportunities, attaining more goals, more compassion towards others, making more friendships and always striving for more,” Kahn said. “My career as a GymHawk prepared me to be the very best me, and for that I am, and always will be proud to be a Hawkeye.”
Libby reiterates what Kahn absorbed from the program as one of her key goals.
“We want them to know we’re invested in who you are going to become, where you are going to go, what you are going to do,” Libby said.
What does this do for the future of Hawkeye gymnastics? It trickles down to the next generation.
“I’ve been so blessed to be able to stay close to the program through the incredible Larissa Libby and staff,” alum Liz (Grajewski) Johnson said. “Now my little girl dreams of being a GymHawk someday. I think that says it all. Iowa Gymnastics is truly family.”