Biography: MAR, Sabrina

MAR, Sabrina
Inducted: 2004

 

Sabrina Mar was an unheralded competitive gymnast from about 1976 through her retirement from the sport in 1988. However, during her relatively short career, she proved herself world class.  On the sports pages of news media, we so often read about scandals and other forms of athletic negativism in the world. It’s too bad that more of what we read can’t be about the lives of athletes and former athletes who just trained, became the best at what they did, and lived normal, relatively uneventful lives. The athletes who marry, raise their children without problems and serve their sport and community without fanfare are all too often missing from athletic reporting; however, it is these athletes, in this case, an elite woman gymnast, who helped move our sport higher and higher in the world ratings as well as make it safer through her studies and publications. Sabrina made women’s gymnastics better, and we owe it to the world to tell her story.

Sabrina began gymnastics in 1975 at the age of 5; a rowdy child, he mother enrolled her in tumbling and ballet classes. And now the rest of the story! “Following each Olympic Games, many gymnasts retire, opening the door for a new generation of gymnasts to enjoy success.  Following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Sabrina Mar seized the opportunity, earning five medals (three of them Gold at the 1985 U.S. National Championships.  Sabrina’s success continued; She qualified to an event final at both the 1985 and 1987 World Championships, enjoyed a near sweep of the medals at the 1987 Pan Am Games, tied for 3rd place at the 1988 USA vs. USSR dual meet (placing ahead of Soviet Olympians Elena Shevchenko and Natalia Laschenova).  It was largely taken for granted that she would be on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team.  The 1988 U.S. Women’s Olympic gymnastics team was determined by weighting gymnasts’ performances at that year’s National Championships, with those at the 1988 Olympic Trials.  Sabrina should have had no troubles making the team, but then, at the worst possible moment, she was sidelined with back problems.  She was successfully petitioned to the trials, but at the trials her sore back prevented her from competing her optional routines.  Sabrina eventually enrolled in Pre-medicine at UCLA. Unlike many former gymnasts though, she did not compete NCAA.  At age 10, Sabrina accepted a part as one of the dancing orphans in the movie Annie.  Her movie earnings were placed into savings, the earnings later providing for her university education.  Sabrina’s experience with back problems prompted her to concentrate her studies in physiology, and while at UCLA she completed a research article on the effects of sport on the athlete’s back.  She presented this paper at the 1992 USGF (United States Gymnastics Federation) Congress.  Sabrina’s name later appeared as one of four authors on a second article (entitled Factors Associated With Wrist Pain in the Young Gymnast) published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.  Sabrina graduated from UCLA in 1993 with a B.S. in Science of Physiological Science.  In 1996, Sabrina went back to school to study animation, and from 1997-2002 she worked on the highly successful show South Park.” (1).  World Championships: Team member, Montreal, Canada, (1985); Team member, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Pan American Games: Gold-Team & AA, Silver-FX & UB, Bronze-BB, Indianapolis, Indiana-USA, (1987). World Cup: Team member, Beijing, China, (1986). International Competitions: Pacific Alliance: Gold-V & UB, Silver-AA, (1984); American Cup: AA-4th, (1985) & Gold-BB & AA-6th, (1986). USA vs. USSR: Silver-Team & Bronze-AA, (1987). USAG Championships: Gold-AA, UB, & FX; Silver-BB & V, (1985); Bronze-BB, (1987). She trained for the 1988 Olympic Trials, but her back injury prevented her from competing. Education: B.S. from UCLA, (1993). Family: (m) Dennis. Children: Noah.

Source: (1) Reprinted with courteous permission of Ms. Jennifer Isbister at . Jerry Wright provided Sabrina’s competitive history and photos. Introduction and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.