UGA’s Kupets in a class of her own
Former Gym Dog holds NCAA record with nine individual titles
In the world of sports, it is easy to take for granted awe-inspiring athleticism. Especially at a Division I school with generations of legendary athletes, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. However, gymnast Courtney Kupets did just that.
Kupets joined her older sister, Ashley, at Georgia and quickly made an impression -- earning five individual NCAA titles in her first two seasons with the Gym Dogs -- as well as back-to-back NCAA all-around titles. Her achievements earned her the 2007 Honda Sports Award, presented to the top women athletes in the NCAA.
However, Kupets saw her entire collegiate career flash before her eyes in 2008 during a floor routine that had an eerie feeling of déjà vu. She suffered a torn achilles tendon for the second time, the first being just before her 2004 Olympic journey in Athens, Greece. But just as the first injury wouldn’t halt her career dreams, Kupets wouldn’t allow the obstacles to set her back.
Even missing an entire post-season due to the injury, Kupets accomplished unfathomable feats during her career at UGA. As a member of the Georgia Gym Dogs, Kupets played a key role in four of its five consecutive NCAA titles.
Kupets garnered many of her own NCAA titles despite competing in only three NCAA Championships, holding the all-time record for the most individual career titles with nine. By winning an NCAA title on the vault in 2007, her wins on the all-around, bars, beam and floor as Georgia won their 10th overall NCAA title in 2009 led her to became the only gymnast in history to ever win a national title in all four events.
A finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year, Kupets also set the record for single national meet titles by winning a total of four in 2009, including three perfect 10s during the NCAA Championships. Her ability to bounce back stronger than ever for her senior season was recognized when she was awarded her second Honda Sports Award, a fitting end to her collegiate career as the nation’s top gymnast.
“Courtney’s accomplishments in this sport are second-to-none,” former UGA head coach Suzanne Yoculan said. “She had power, poise, finesse, and most importantly mental toughness under pressure. She is by far the most complete gymnast that I ever coached.”
Selected as a 2010 recipient of the NCAA Today’s Top VIII Award, Kupets proved that she was not a one-dimensional athlete and indeed her talents were not isolated to the competition floor. Her accomplishments in the classroom earned her a coveted NCAA Postgraduate scholarship after maintaining a 3.78 GPA throughout her pursuit of an undergraduate degree.
Kupets is still very much involved with NCAA Athletics, now working as a graduate assistant in the UGA Athletic Association compliance and student services office. She is building on her success in the classroom and competition as she pursues a master’s degree in sports management.