SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz lost their Sloan Thursday when coach Jerry Sloan stepped down.
The Utah Utes, however, got a chance Thursday at getting their own Sloan when 2009 world all-around champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian Bridget Sloan and her parents, Jeff and Mary, made a recruiting visit to the school.
They will also attend Friday's meet.
Utah is the third of Bridget's recruiting visits. She has been to Georgia and Florida and may go on to UCLA and Alabama.
"This is different," after visiting warm Georgia and Florida. "Coming here was kind of like, 'Oh, it's a little cold.' But it's absolutely beautiful here," said Sloan, who is from Pittsboro, Ind. "Coming in on the plane, my mom was like, 'Look out the window.' I just expected it to clouds, but there was all these beautiful mountains, and it was amazing."
Sloan won the 2009 world all-around, bars and floor championships in London and was part of the silver-medal winning U.S. Olympic team in 2008, despite a knee injury that threatened to keep her from qualifying. She was seventh on vault, 10th on beam and tied for 10th all-around in the Olympic preliminaries.
She said it was "almost a tie" between the thrills of the Olympics and the worlds, but she said her favorite is probably the world title because, "It was my routines that got the scores, and that was incredible. You work so hard, and then it really pays off."
She is not sure if she will enroll in college or continue in international gymnastics. She called her world championship "a once-in-a-lifetime" thing, but added, "I would love to try again and see what happens, because it was just amazing.
"Right now, I'm kind of at a crossroads where to go. I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do, and I'm a little confused on what it is, but I'll figure it out."
Sloan is close friends with Ute freshman and fellow Olympian Corrie Lothrop and was teammates with senior Jacq Johnson and junior Cortni Beers, but she said she has friends at all of the major programs, so that won't be a deciding factor in her decision.Comment on this story
She wants to go where she could continue to be recognized."Everybody knows the Utah gymnasts, everybody knows the Florida gymnasts, Georgia, UCLA — everybody knows them, and I just think that's awesome, and I would definitely want to be a part of one of those schools," Sloan said.
She hopes to study sports medicine, though she said that could change tomorrow, and she'd like to minor in communication, with an eye toward working for ESPN. Her whole family is athletic — her parents, two brothers and a sister all competed in school, and her dad is a part-time soccer coach when he's not doing chemical engineering.