DU’s Toughest Athlete, Nina McGee Might be the Best Ever

Photo: DenverPioneers.com

DU athletic teams are loaded with great athletes in their respective sports. But the toughest athlete at DU is senior gymnast Nina McGee. As the Denver Post reported a year ago, McGee performs with two rods that run from from her knees to her ankles. Her severe shin splints were caused by stress fractures of the tibia in both legs. That put her athletic career in jeopardy. After consultation with medical experts and coaches, the decision was made to insert metal rods to support the tibia in both legs from the knees to the ankles.

In a display of toughness and determination, McGee took more than a year of rehabilitation to return to the team. “Some parts were easier than others,” McGee said. “It was a little rough getting mobility back in my knees and ankles. I had to learn how to run and jump again. My main apprehension was thinking about doing the landings.”

Imagine performing on the vault, bars, beam, and floor routines – all that require hard landings? Crazy, courageous, and competitive – but most of all, tough.

Now, she has a chance to win an  NCAA individual title(s) and possibly earn the best female all-around title. That would make her one of the University of Denver’s greatest athletes ever.

McGee qualified for her second consecutive NCAA National Championships this past weekend after finishing second in the all-around at Saturday’s NCAA Regionals in Minneapolis. McGee also won the floor title with a meet-high 9.950, continuing her streak of winning at least one individual title in every meet this season. In the all-around, she competes on the beam, floor, vault, and bars.

McGee delivered a pair of 10’s (pictured) earlier this season as well.

McGee will compete in the semifinals at the NCAA National Championships on Friday, April 15, in Fort Worth, Texas, for the second straight year. Last year she finished with a tie for second on floor and 11th-place finish in the all-around.

2 thoughts on “DU’s Toughest Athlete, Nina McGee Might be the Best Ever”

  1. If Nina wins an NCAA individual title, I think she becomes DU’s greatest gymmast of all-time. No D-I DU gymnast has ever done it. Karen Beer won titles at the DII/AIAW level in the early ’80s for DU but not as a D-I athlete. Jessica Lopez represented DU and her native Venezuela at two Olympics – the 2008 and 2012 Games, and won a silver medal at the Pan Am Games, but was not an NCAA champion during her time ar DU. Those would be the other two in the conversation. Other DU NCAA individual champions would includeJack Kelso, the only DU swimmer to win a D-I title in the early 60s, Jerome Biffle, an NCAA champion in the long jump in the early 50s before winning the 1952 Olympic Gold. And of course, many DU skiers have won individual NCAA titles.

    Liked by 2 people

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