Former Gateway gymnast Olivia Miller sets high bar athletically, academically at Pitt
Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 2:01 PM
Olivia Miller went from misfortune to good fortune this spring as her collegiate academic and athletic tenure at the University of Pittsburgh came to a close.
The Gateway graduate saw her 17-year gymnastics career come to a sudden end at the Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League championships March 19 at George Washington University when she tore her ACL during a warm-up on the uneven bars.
“I was working on my dismount and landing, and when I landed, it seemed perfectly fine, but my knee also felt like it dislocated a little bit,” said Miller, a four-time EAGL all-conference honoree.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to compete at the conference championships. That was tough, but all in all, it wasn’t the end of the world. If this was going to happen, at least it happened at the last meet ever as opposed to the first meet of my senior year.”
Tests confirmed the extent of the injury, and Miller soon was on a course of treatment and rehab. But in the midst of her injury frustration, she was reminded of just how much of an impact she made during her time at Pitt.
At the Panthers Choice Awards on April 10, Miller won the women’s gymnastics Gold Standard Award for her inspiration to her team through commitment, composure and integrity.
“A lot of my teammates could’ve received that award because it’s just a great group, but I was honored to think that I have made an impact on a lot of people on my team,” she said.
Miller also was presented one of Pitt’s Blue-Gold Awards for representing Pitt in the areas of athletic and academic achievement, leadership and citizenship.
The honor will be forever recognized with her name engraved on a paver stone on Pitt’s Varsity Walk between Heinz Chapel and The Cathedral of Learning on the Oakland campus.
Most recently, Miller, who graduated from Pitt the weekend of May 1 with a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences and a certificate in Pathokinesiology in Rehabilitation, was presented the George I. Carson Graduate Fellowship award to continue her education at Pitt toward a graduate degree in Pitt’s Physician Assistant Studies Hybrid Program.
She was selected as the winner by a committee of Pitt sports administrators, academic counselors and staff through her success in athletics and academics.
“The Carson Scholarship is huge,” Miller said. “To have my entire graduate school paid for is incredible. There were many deserving candidates, and I am blessed and honored that they chose me. I am excited to have that continued connection to Pitt and to know that I’ve made a difference and hope to continue to make an impact.”
Miller begins classes toward her graduate degree in January. Until then, she will be rehabbing her injury, working in rehab services at UPMC and also taking some time to travel with a trip to Singapore planned for August.
“I am ready to enjoy life and whatever it brings me over the next couple of months until graduate school starts,” Miller said.
On the competition floor, Miller earned first-team recognition in the all-around (2019, 2021) and second-team honors on floor exercise (2020, 2021).
She garnered EAGL All-Tournament selection five times on four events – all-around, vault, bars, and floor – during her four-year career and was a two-time EAGL Rookie of the Week pick in 2019.
Miller also received all-scholastic honors from the EAGL in each year of her career.
“I am thankful for every experience that I’ve had as a Pitt gymnast,” she said. “My experience at Pitt has been even more than just a student-athlete. I was able to grow as a leader, grow as an individual and create connections and friendships which will last a lifetime. My teammates did so much to make this experience unforgettable. It all has given me so many opportunities, and I am so thankful for that.”
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