The Buffalo News polled sports staffers as to the top 10 male and female athletes from Western New York. Here’s No. 9 among women:
Name: Jackie Brummer.
Hometown: North Tonawanda.
High School: Sweet Home.
Career Overview: Brummer achieved elite status as a teenager, then was a national champion as a collegian at Arizona State University. She’s the only gymnast to win the New York State high school all-round title four years in a row (and was only the second in the nation to achieve such a four-peat). She trained at Gleason’s Gymnastics, where she was coached by Peter and Cindy Sielski, along with ex-Olympian Kathy Gleason. She was part of a U.S. team that competed in the 1980 DDR Invitational, the first international competition in East Germany. She placed 12th all-around at the U.S. Championships in 1981, earning a spot on the U.S. travel team. She won numerous gold medals at the Empire State Games, along with the all-around at the Niagara Cup Invitational in 1983. At Arizona State, she won the NCAA title on the uneven bars in 1984 and claimed the NCAA all-around and balance beam titles in 1986.
Update: Brummer, 51, is an attorney who lives in Orchard Park. She has a license to practice law in California and Colorado, in addition to New York. In her spare time, she still helps coach gymnastics and does some judging, as well.
Epic finish: The NCAA Championship at the University of Florida in 1986 was Brummer’s final competitive event. She tied an NCAA record in winning the all-around title with a score of 38.2, and her winning balance-beam score was a record 9.8.
“It was an incredible moment,” Brummer said. “My family was all there to see it at the University of Florida. My mom and dad and my brother, which was really special. Cindy Sielski was judging. All that hard work paid off and I finished strong with the meet of my life.”
Longevity: “I always was more strong than I was flexible, so I think having that strength allowed me to compete longer without injury,” Brummer said. “I really never got injured during my competitive years. The worst I did was sprain an ankle. So it helped the longevity of my career and helped me finish like that.”
Great company: Brummer competed against all of the members of the famed 1984 U.S. Olympic team, which won the nation’s first team silver medal. The most satisfying moment of her elite competitive career? One of them was making finals on uneven bars at the 1981 U.S. Nationals.
“Bars was my best event. I made finals and I was competing with Tracee Talavera, Julianne McNamara and Kathy Johnson. And Mary Lou Retton. Before she was that great, I beat her in a meet. All those experiences, and meeting those great, great, amazing athletes along the way, that was the true goal of competition.”
Memorable moment: Brummer was brilliant as a 16-year-old at the 1981 U.S. World Team Trials at Fort Collins, Colo. She placed 13th overall and scored 9.65 on the balance beam (the fourth best score) and 9.50 on the bars (only six athletes scored higher).
“I hit bars and stuck beam cold and got a standing ovation,” she recalled.
Hollywood: After college, Brummer spent eight years living in California and was an actress and stuntwoman. Among her credits were an appearance on the TV show “Moonlighting” with actor Bruce Willis. She was Heather Locklear’s stunt double in the movie, “The Return of Swamp Thing.” She’s also a licensed skydiver and has made more than 400 jumps.