The inspiring playlist that has helped gymnast Lexie Priessman through injuries and comebacks
Lexie Priessman's long career has been anything but a smooth ride. A breakout star early, in 2010 at 13 she won the inaugural Nastia Liukin Cup, and in 2012 she became the junior national all-around champion.
That same year she should have been a good bet for the London Olympic Games, except for one thing: The January-born 15-year-old was just over three weeks too young to qualify.
Priessman spent one year on the senior national team before injuries ultimately sidelined her Olympic hopes. Now 21, she's had nine surgeries from ankle to shoulder to repair her hard-working body.
But through all of it, she's persevered. Competing in her senior year at LSU, she's been a regular-season and postseason first team All-American on the uneven bars the past two years, and a key part of LSU's goal to win its first NCAA team title in April.
That's why it's not surprising that Priessman's playlist is full of inspiration. "I'm not someone who listens to loud banging music before a competition," she told us. "I enjoy music that keeps me calm and reminds me that I compete for a bigger purpose than myself."
On repeat? The Gospel song "Hills and Valleys" by Tauren Wells. "I listen to this all the time," Priessman says. "It's a reminder to me that God's got me no matter the situation. I believe if I trust in him and his plan for me, he will guide me through every hill and every valley I pass through. It reminds me of the importance of focusing on the journey and not the destination."
Another top song: Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls." Priessman says, "I just love Martina, and this song puts me in the mindset of if you feel a little worried, remember this one's for your girls -- those girls being my teammates. I love them like sisters. And no matter the situation I'll do anything for them."
Finally, her playlist always ends with "The Comeback" by Danny Gokev. "I end on this song because after overcoming all the injuries and obstacles I have faced, it's a reminder that, 'Hey, you're here. You're doing what people thought you couldn't do. Keep pushing. Don't hold yourself back, hold yourself up.' It's a good reminder to myself that I will not give up that fight inside of me no matter what I'm feeling," Priessman says.
Here's the rest of her list: