Competing in gymnastics and diving, Ashton twins prepare to train on the world stage

Rahul Parikh | Sports Editor

The Ashton family is racking up the frequent flyer miles.  

Sophomre Kartina Ashton is a gymnast turned diver who has excelled at both. Ashton left gymnastics due to injury, but not before she racked up 3 state championships. As a diver, Ashton will join the Chinese National Team as well as the Olympic Team training this summer.
Sophomore Arthur Ashton has been a gymnast for the last 10 years, and has won the state championship every year since he was 7. Ashton will also compete overseas this summer, competing with the REgion 5 team in Italy, in which they will train with the Italian National Team.

Competing in gymnastics and diving have taken the athletic sophomores all over the globe, and this summer Arthur will be traveling to Italy while his twin sister Karina will be training in China. Arthur has been competing in gymnastics for ten years, and has won the United States of America Gymnastics (USAG) State Tournament every single year since 2010,  recently qualifying for Junior Elite Nationals. 

This past season Arthur also qualified for an Elite Team camp, in which he and seven other athletes traveled to Colombia, competing with the Junior National Team. Arthur will continue traveling this summer. He is going to Italy to train with the Italian National Team.   

Karina was also a standout gymnast up until two years ago, when she started diving competitively. Karina has seen success in both sports alike, as she was a three-time USAG state champ and level 10 gymnast before injuries forced her to leave the sport and start diving. 

Karina has seen very quick success in diving, already competing at Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) State Tournament, and recently invited to train with the Chinese National Team this summer. 

With both athletes already competing at a global level in their respective sports, traveling around the world has been – and will continue to be, a benefit of their success. 

Arthur said that his past experiences in South America have made him realize what this sport could really do for him, and that he and Karina both look forward to the time they get to spend traveling. 

“When I was in Columbia, I saw that kids my age and even younger than me were at such a high level doing this so early,” Ashton said. “It really motivated me and helped me see what I wanted to achieve from the sport.”

For Karina, the continuous injuries to her back and most of her body from gymnastics caused her to switch over to diving. She said she’s adapted well to diving as it’s less stressful on her body, and she doesn’t carry the same concern for injuries, although she’s still recovering from previous ones.

“I had so many casts and braces all the time from gymnastics, and I even had a fractured back with a bulged disk that hasn’t stopped hurting for two years,” Ashton said. “But I’ve always known that injuries don’t define who you are as an athlete ; I’ve always thought to move on mentally and physically from any setbacks. I still have my fracture with diving, but there’s less impact on my body and it’s allowed me to continue growing as an athlete.”

Seeing Karina leave gymnastics, the sport they grew up competing in together, wasn’t easy for Arthur. Arthur said while he is extremely happy to see Karina succeed in diving, it was tough to see her let go of gymnastics because of the limitless potential she had.

“It was so hard seeing her leave gymnastics because we had been doing it together for so long and she had so much talent,” Ashton said. “She had many opportunities for college scholarships, and there were so many years and so much money put into gymnastics, it’s just really difficult to let that go.”

As far as Arthur’s future is concerned, he said that he is looking forward to competing in gymnastics at a collegiate level, and already has certain schools in mind he wants to attend.

“I’d like to go to Stanford or OSU, any of the big ten schools would be great,” Ashton said. “The schools that appeal to me are good for gymnastics but also great academically, and I feel like that will benefit me as well.”

Karina would also like to compete in college on a diving scholarship, and she knows that her experiences on a global stage will propel her to the level she needs to be on to achieve her goals.

“I’d love to dive in college,” Ashton said. “Going to China to compete and training with the world’s best will definitely help me learn and keep adapting to diving at a higher level.”