The gymnast who chose OSU over the Olympics

Athlete of the Week

Lowery is the third Australian gymnast to compete for the Beavers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Isis Lowery couldn’t have found Corvallis on a map six years ago. Today she’s a pillar on the Oregon State gymnastics team, with a personality that draws her teammates, coaches, and fans in.

“I’m from Melbournes, Australia, so a long way from home,” said Lowery. “I honestly didn’t know Oregon State was a school—I had no idea.”

Isis Lowery is an Oregon State University gymnast, February 2020 (KOIN)

In distance, Lowery is more than 8,000 miles from her hometown. But over the last four years, the four walls of the Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center at Oregon State has become her home.

“These guys are my sisters, and being so far away from home, it’s so nice to have that piece of family,” said Lowery. Sometimes it’s like I don’t even feel like I’m far away from my family because I’ve got this one.”

Gymnastics has always surrounded her with family. As the daughter of a professional basketball player, her parents quickly realized her inability to sit still, her need for an outlet.

“My parents saw I was kind of trying to learn things myself, like lay out the couch cushions, and they were like, okay let’s get you in actual gymnastics because we don’t want you to hurt yourself,” recalled Lowery. “I think every gymnast has a similar story.”

What started as an outlet became an obsession. Lowery split her time between basketball and gymnastics for a while, but in the end, gymnastics won out.

“There’s just something about gymnastics that you can’t leave—I don’t know what it is,” said Lowery.

Maybe it’s the pursuit of perfection, or the fact that there’s always another level, another skill to master. Lowery began competing at the age of eight. She worked her way all the way up to the Australian National Team. But when it came time to chase her Olympic dream, another option presented itself.

“The opportunity to go to college came up,” she said. After a long conversation with her parents, she decided that college was the better route for herself.

Lowery became the third Australian gymnast to compete for the Beavers.

“I can’t even tell you how fortunate we are to have her in the program,” said her coach.

Isis Lowery sticks her landing during practice at Oregon State University. February 2020 (KOIN)

Lowery’s easy smile and contagious laughter will be missed when she graduates in the spring. But the memories she made with her sisters will last a lifetime.

“I could talk about this team for so long, but honestly, it’s just a family,” said Lowery. “We’ve just been through so much together. Every team that I’ve been on, there’s just something so special about it that makes it impossible to leave.”

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