Born on October 31, 1999, Mia lives in Boulder and trains at Airborne Gymnastics in Longmont, Colorado. She loves training and competing in gymnastics. Highlights include qualifying to the TOPS National Team as a 9- and 10-year old, and success at every Colorado State Championship since Level 4, capped off by first all-around in Level 10 in 2013 and again in 2015. Also in 2013, Mia competed in several Elite Qualifiers, exceeding the required compulsory score for junior international status, and coming within .7 of the required optional score.
Her 2014 competition season was limited due to injury, though she successfully passed Elite compulsories again that year. In 2015, season highlights included 1st all-around at the Metroplex Challenge, with a score of 38.0, and 2nd all-around and 1st on bars at Region 3 Regionals. At 2015 JO Nationals, Mia placed 12th on beam and 18th on vault. In April of 2015, Mia's 2016 competitive season was limited due to injury. Mia verbally committed to attend the University of Denver beginning in 2018, however, she is graduating early from high school and will be on the Pioneers' roster starting in September of 2017.
Mia’s strengths include a no-drama, even-tempered style. She is committed to excellence in both gymnastics and academics. She entered her final year at Fairview High School, ranked among the nation’s top 100 high schools, with a 4.4 GPA. She enjoys her cats Moche and Cato, international travel, hanging out with her friends, swimming, shopping, and spending time with her little brother Leo, also a high level gymnast who has competed at JE Nationals and Future Stars Nationals.
Additional perspectives on Mia
“I first had the opportunity to coach Mia in 2005 at CATS gymnastics. I observed Mia at Xtreme Altitude from 2011 to 2014, and again at Airborne beginning in late 2014. From the first day, she was a joy to coach. I have coached for more than 20 years and have worked with all kinds of athletes. I have worked with talented gymnasts and hard working gymnasts. Every once in a while I have the opportunity to work with those who possess both qualities. Mia is one of the few who demonstrates both while maintaining a sense of humility and confidence.
From a very young age, Mia demonstrated a level of composure under pressure that many gymnasts never develop. She is a ‘calm center of the storm’ that her teammates gravitate to in high pressure, meet situations. She has compassion for others but doesn't deviate from her own focus both in practice and in competition.
Mia is a role model to all young athletes in the gym. She demonstrates honesty in her training and in her daily life. She handles fear in a healthy way and encourages others while they're dealing with their own fear. She avoids drama and handles conflict by going to the person directly and dealing with the problem in a positive respectful manner.
I would like to mention a quality that Mia possesses that has brightened many a day for me. Mia is so happy! She is a walking ray of sunshine. She will say ‘Hi!’ with a huge smile on her face, ask me how my day is and honestly want to hear my answer. She looks for the positive in every situation. She strives to find solutions rather than focusing on problems.
Mia has many leadership qualities. First of all, she leads by example. She is the first person to help move mats and set up stations. She gently reminds her teammates of the task at hand without coming across as bossy. She doesn't make excuses, and she rarely complains. She is often chosen as the group spokesperson because of her confidence and intelligence.
I am so proud of the gymnast Mia is; but, I am more proud of the person she is and the character she leads her life by.”
-- Gary Weiland, Coach, Airborne Gymnastics and Dance
contact: email@example.com, 720-203-6688
“I have trained with Mia for the last 6 years and have had the privilege of watching her grow into the gymnast and person she is today. The competitor and team leader I've watched Mia become is astonishing, from the little munchkin running around the gym throwing huge skills to the team leader she has become today. Mia is constantly striving for perfection and will surely achieve any goal she sets her mind to. Mia comes to practice everyday with a smile on her face and a goal in mind. Her work ethic always inspires me. She has overcome countless obstacles in her gymnastics career and conquered them all with grace. Her determination is contagious. Beyond how she influences everyone positively without her knowing she is always there to give pep-talks, advice, or just cheer anyone up if they are having a rough day. Every practice I had with Mia is cherished. The effect Mia has had on my gymnastics and on me as a person is undeniable. I wouldn't be the gymnast I am today without Mia's help along the way, and I wouldn't have the outlook on overcoming obstacles without having Mia's footsteps to follow in.”
-- Jessica O’Brien
Cornell Gymnastics, Class of 2018
“It is my great privilege to take this moment to pause, reflect and share my thoughts regarding this remarkable young woman, Mia Sundstrom. As I enter my twenty-fifth year as an educator, I have seen many very talented students, but very few as talented, well rounded, caring and aware as Mia. Mia was a student at Horizons K-8 for nine years and the impact of her presence will be felt in both the faculty and the student body for years to come. Mia set an example for challenging herself academically, physically, personally and socially that had a truly positive influence on all of us. Mia contributed a great deal to the Horizons community during her nine years here; she is a great thinker, a caring leader, and a dedicated student. She is committed to excellence in all that she does. Of particular note is her consistent commitment to treating all people with respect. Mia injects a healthy dose of fun into everything she does, and with all of the demands on her time, she manages with grace and ease. Her thoughtful graduation speech reflected gratitude and confidence, and I am confident that she has a bright future ahead….it would be my pleasure to help you fully understand what an amazing person she is.”
-- John W. McCluskey, Principal
Horizons K-8 School, Boulder, CO
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; (720) 561-3605
First, I write this as an unabashedly loving grandfather of Mia Sundstrom. So my bias is unmistakable. However, as a long-lived and highly experienced clinician (psychiatrist) and the Founder and President of the National Institute for Play, a respected non-profit education and research institute, I feel qualified from objectively evaluated experience to also advocate for her future success as a person and a talented gymnast.
Play, as I have been able to frame it scientifically, requires entry into a separate “state” of being, where the outcome of the playful activity is secondary to the deep engagement and joy in the experience of play itself. When that state is achieved, very good long-term outcomes accrue. I have seen Mia over the years repeatedly, even in major competitions, stay joyful and engaged from the sheer exuberance that this sport provides her.
As one academically grounded in play, I know that such exuberance and engagement provide sustained benefits: increased mastery, perseverance, better management of stress, optimism in the face of difficulty, and much more. She has shown these qualities, and they are increasing as she matures.
I applaud Mia’s continuing in gymnastics at the high level she has achieved, because for her, gymnastics excellence and improvement are deeply engaging, playful, and balanced with good friendships, a talent for leadership, and resiliency. Any coach would be fortunate to have her spirit and abilities as assets for her team.
--Stuart Brown, MD
Founder and President, National Institute for Play