Chalked Up: My Life in Elite Gymnastics (Paperback)
Updated With a New Introduction
“I am grateful to Jennifer Sey for sharing such an honest account of her experiences as an elite gymnast. She has eloquently and fairly exposed a dark side to our sport that parents have long needed to be made aware of.”
—Dominique Moceanu, Olympic Gold Medal Winning Gymnast
Fanciful dreams of becoming the next Nadia Comaneci led Jennifer Sey to become a gymnast at the age of six. Her early success propelled her family to sacrifice everything to help her become, by age 11, one of America’s elite. But as she set her sights higher and higher, Jennifer began to change, setting her needs, her health, and her well-being aside in the name of winning. And the adults in her life refused to notice her downward spiral.
Now, Sey reveals the tarnish beneath her gold medals. A powerful portrait of intensity and drive, eating disorders and stage parents, abusive coaches and manipulative businessmen, Chalked Up is the story of a young girl whose dreams would become subsumed by the adults around her.
About the Author
The 1986 national gymnastics champion and a seven-time U.S. National team member, Jennifer Sey is a graduate of Stanford University. A mother of four children, she lives in San Francisco and produced the documentary, Athlete A.
"Jennifer Sey was belittled and ostracized by much of the gymnastics community for telling the truth in Chalked Up. Yet she not only weathered every blow, she helped build a movement. A fearless and exacting writer, she continues to hold the abusers and enablers accountable. Twelve years after publication, Sey’s personal story is as powerful an indictment – and as furious a warning – as anything you’ll read in sports."
— Joan Ryan, author of Little Girls in Pretty Boxes
"Jennifer Sey was belittled and ostracized by much of the gymnastics community for telling the truth in Chalked Up. Yet she not only weathered every blow, she helped build a movement. A fearless and exacting writer, she continues to hold the abusers and enablers accountable. Fourteen years after publication, Sey’s personal story is as powerful an indictment – and as furious a warning – as anything you’ll read in sports."
— Joan Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
“A cautionary tale to not just athletes, parents, coaches, and judges but to fans of gymnastics… intense, gripping, and powerful.”
— Kathryn Bertine, ESPN columnist and author of All the Sundays Yet to Come: A Skater's Journey
“A remarkably candid, unblinking portrait of what it truly takes to become a champion…that may forever alter the way you watch sports.”
— Jake Tapper, Senior National Correspondent, ABC News
“Chalked Up pulls no punches…Sey’s writing is brilliant…offering perceptive psychoanalysis of everyone in her isolated world…Chalked Up is proof that she still has alot of guts.”
— International Gymnast
“She has eloquently and fairly exposed a dark side to our sport that parents have long needed to be made aware of.”
— Dominique Moceanu, Olympic Gold Medal Winning Gymnast
“Sey writes with vivid, clear-eyed candor; she doesn’t blame others, instead feeling that all the pressure came from within…To this day, this former athlete, now a highly successful businesswoman, is haunted by feelings of failure. Young athletes and their parents would appreciate Sey’s book.”
— Library Journal
“A courageous story befitting a comeback kid—a timely release for the 2008 Olympics.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Is the wonder of seeing these tiny bodies propel through space worth the horror they suffer to achieve grace and beauty? Or—and this is a conclusion the Sey refuses to draw—is this “sport” just institutionalized, commercialized, child abuse?”
“CURLING UP WITH A GOOD HEALTH BOOK: In 1986 Sey was the number one gymnast in America. Her memoir recounts what it took to get there. As a former gymnast myself (no where NEAR as accomplished), I relished this unvarnished account of the sport.”
— Real Simple Magazine (blog), Liz Krieger
“Sey’s memoir has sent shock waves through the tightly knit world of top athletes, sparking controversy…She hopes her book might serve as both a wake-up call to a sport that she says she still loves and a lesson to parents whose children enter the world of top athletics.”
— The Observer, UK