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Diamond Cook joins gymnastics team at Talladega College for its inaugural season

Diamond Cook ready for college gymnastics career
Diamond Cook ready for college gymnastics career 01:41

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Diamond Cook went from being a gymnast without a team to helping make history in a matter of days.

When Cook attended a camp in early July, she didn't know what the future held. That's where she met Aja Sims-Fletcher while practicing a new skill.

"I was doing it on low beam and she said they were really good. And she said that by Sunday it should be on the high beam," Cook said.

Diamond had found the route her gymnastics career would take.

"She asked me if I was interested in college gymnastics and I was like, 'Yes.' And then she mentioned Talladega, and I was like, 'I would love to be on that team. I would do anything to be on that team,'" Cook said.

"I could tell by the way she worked and wanted to try new things that she was kind of an underdog," Sims-Fletcher said. "So that really attracted me to her gymnastics."

Cook signed to compete for Talladega College less than two weeks after that camp.

"I was happy because my dream was finally coming true," Cook said.

Talladega is the second historically Black college and university to have a gymnastics program and this is their inaugural season.

"Gymnastics, of course, in history was not a predominantly brown girls' sport," Sims-Fletcher said. "And so we are continuing to build culture within gymnastics and provide more opportunities for young athletes that want to do gymnastics in college. So this is a big, big time for our sport."

Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles are two of the last three Olympic all-around champions. Change is happening and HBCUs are helping that trend.

"It's really exciting and I'm really grateful for it because I feel like it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Cook said.

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