Chance vaults Tunica’s Ward into gymnastics
Not everyone’s dream falls in his or her lap, but every now and then someone gets an opportunity of a lifetime that just doesn’t happen twice. For native Tunican Janis Ward, that golden opportunity came by way of a grandparent hard-pressed for time.
Ward was born in Tunica and graduated from what was then Tunica Institute of Learning, before moving to Houston.
In the summer of 1984, after the deaths of both grandparents just days apart, Ward and her family were really down. She remembers turning on the television in the weeks to come and distracting herself with the Olympics.
“I had never really watched the Olympics,” Ward claims, “but I watched Mary Lou Retton hit a perfect vault twice and fell in love with the sport.” Although she had never stepped foot on a gymnastic floor or strapped on a leotard, Ward began craving gymnastics like a starving man wants a steak.