(CMR) The Cayman Islands will have its first Olympics gymnast after Raegan Rutty (19) was invited to compete at the 2020 Olympics, which starts this week in Tokyo, Japan.
“For as long as I could remember, the Tokyo Olympics has been my dream. I always wanted to be the Cayman Islands' first ever Olympic gymnast. I knew if I wanted to achieve this goal, I would have to make many sacrifices. By the time I was 14 years old, I left my country, my home, my family, and friends to begin training in Texas under Johnnie and Eddie,” Rutty wrote in a post on Instagram.
The gymnast said it was not an easy journey getting to this point, but she is excited to have her dream come true.
“I can vividly remember crying in my bedroom because of how homesick and lonely I was, ready to give up on my dream. However, I knew that I would regret it later on if I gave up. I knew that one day all of the blood, sweat, and tears would be worth it. Today, I thank myself for not giving up. Today I have been given the honor and privilege of being the first-ever gymnast to represent the Cayman Islands at an Olympic Games,” she wrote.
Rutty will not only be the first gymnast to represent the Cayman Islands in the Olympics, but she will be only the ninth woman from the Cayman Islands to compete at the Olympics. She expressed her appreciation to all those who helped her along her journey.
“I am beyond grateful to so many people. First, thank you God, for answering my prayers and giving me strength through all of the hard times. Thank you to my parents and family for supporting me and allowing me to chase after my dream. Without your love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“And to every host family, thank you for being my home away from home, which allowed me to continue on this crazy journey. Thank you to my friends for supporting me and being proud of me no matter what. I want to say a special thank you to Johnnie and Eddie. Thank you for tackling every challenge and opportunity with me and for never giving up on me. Thank you to the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee and the Cayman Islands Gymnastics Federation for allowing me to have this opportunity to make history for our country.”
Rutty also wants to motivate children, especially those from the Cayman Islands, to chase their dreams. She believes that although Cayman is a small country, it can greatly impact any area.
“And to all of the kids out there with dreams bigger than themselves- never be afraid to chase after your dreams, to fail or to try. Never listen to anyone when they say you can’t do something. Because if I had listened to everyone who said I wouldn’t make it to the Olympics, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. Believe in yourself and know that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. If only ten-year-old Raegan knew it was going to be ‘a lot of hard',” her post read.