DENVER (CBS4)- In February of 2019, DU gymnast Lynnzee Brown earned the first perfect 10 of her career on floor in her sophomore season. That year she was named the NCAA co-champion of floor, marking the second NCAA title in DU gymnastics history.
Fast forward one year to February 2020. As Brown was wrapping up another fabulous floor routine, her career came to a sudden and shocking halt.
"I was tumbling on floor and on my last pass, I went to punch and my Achilles just tore," Lynnzee Brown said.
Amazingly, after tearing her Achilles, Brown still completed her pass and in a split-second had to think of a way to land safely.
"I was already going up as it tore, so I had to complete the two flips as I came down."
As soon as Brown has surgery to repair her Achilles, she jumped headfirst into recovery with a lofty goal of returning by the start of the 2021 season.
"Especially at the beginning, I was like, 'I don't know. I don't know if I can do it.' But I just remembered where I wanted to get to this year," Brown said.
Less than a year later, Lynnzee returned to the scene of the crime, ready to kick off her senior season on the same floor that took gymnastics away from her just eleven months prior.
"I was definitely nervous but I just tried to mask it by being excited to show off my routine," Brown said.
In her return, Brown won all-around, bars and floor titles.
"This injury made me realize how hard this sport really is. When it was my everyday thing, gymnastics was just another thing I did. But when I came back, I was scared to do things that I did every single day. That was new for me because I'm usually a fearless athlete," Brown said.
About a month into the 2021 season, Brown has already been named a Big 12 Gymnast of the Week and is on track for another record-setting season. But after all the adversity, this year is about much more than just the awards.
"In my early career, I had a hard time separating myself from me as the athlete. Through this injury, I've realized that I mean so much more to this team than my athletic abilities," Brown said. "I think I'm fearless in a new way. Just because I'm afraid to do something, it's not going to stop me from trying."
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