On Fridays during football season at Dewitt High School in Dewitt, Mich., just north of Lansing, the boys on the football season wear their blue-and-gold Panther football jerseys to school on game days. That's cool. One of the standout players on last season's Panther team was a junior defensive back, Ryan Wieber. As a senior, his younger sister, Jordyn says, he's going to switch sides and play quarterback. The local newspaper, the Lansing State Journal, calls him "one of the best from from a junior class that must step in for some significant seniors." Cool.
You know, though, what's really cool? "He thinks it's so cool," Ryan's kid sister said, "to see me on TV."
Jordyn Wieber, who is just 15 years old, a high school sophomore, may well be the next It Girl in U.S. gymnastics. Assuming she stays healthy and she keeps performing the way she did last weekend, she's going to be on television a lot, on camera in particular at the 2012 London Games.
It's not just that Jordyn won the AT&T American Cup, an International Gymnatics Federation World Cup event held last Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.
It's not just that the American Cup marked Jordyn's senior-level event debut.
To win the American Cup Jordyn had to beat the 2010 world all-around champion, Aliya Mustafina of Russia.
Which she did.
Jordyn locked up the top score of the day on three of the four events -- vault, balance beam and floor exercise.
She scored a 15.833 on the vault, a 15.266 on the beam and a 14.9 on floor.
She missed a Tkatchev on bars and scored a 13.9. "My hands slipped off the bar a little bit. But it's something i'm able to go back in the gym and work on the consistency of," she said.
Her total score: 59.899.
Mustafina ended up with 59.831.
Alexandra Raisman of Needham, Mass., took third, with 58.565. Alexandra, by the way, is 16 going on 17 -- another young American talent.
That Jordyn won does not come as a total surprise. Hardly. She won the American Cup in 2009, when she was merely 13.
Of course, in 2011 the reigning world champ was at the meet. Jordyn said, "I knew the competition was going to be more stiff. So I didn't expect to win. But it definitely was a goal of mine."
Jordyn tends to be matter-of-fact about these kinds of things. It's her approach. It's why, at 15, she is so demonstrably mentally tough.
Okay, it's why she was that way at 13.
"For me," she said, "gymnastics -- we go into the gym and practice every day. We do the same routines. When we go to competitions, I think of them as another practice. You don't freak out and get too excited. Even though there's a crowd, I try to think of it as just another practice routine in the gym."
And that is why Jordyn might well be the next Big Deal.
She's calm and collected way beyond 15. The pressure on the next anointed gymnastics princess can be intense. Jordyn -- she seems unfazed.
"Today was my first day back at school," she was saying on the phone after getting back from Florida. "So many people were congratulating me. They think it's awesome."
You know what's really awesome -- her older brother, the quarterback, and how his sister might be the It Girl way, way, way beyond DeWitt High School.
She said, "He's really cool with it."'