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OU women's gymnastics: Sooners' Maggie Nichols wins AAI Award

NORMAN — OU's Maggie Nichols was named the winner of the AAI Award, the top award in women's collegiate gymnastics.

Nichols is the first Sooners gymnast to win the award, which is voted on by NCAA head coaches.

Nichols was one of six finalists for the award, the ninths consecutive season OU had a finalist. Until Monday, though, none had broke through and won.

Nichols is one of the most decorated gymnasts in collegiate history, having helped the Sooners to national championships in 2017 and 2019 and winning back-to-back all-around national titles in 2018 and 2019. She won six individual national championships and was a 13-time NCAA All-American.

OU was ranked No. 1 and Nichols had the top national scores in the all-around this season before the year — and Nichols' career — was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nichols won a gold medal at the 2015 Women's World Championships and competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials before leaving elite gymnastics to compete with the Sooners. She became the first gymnast in NCAA history to record a perfect 10 on balance beam in the team finals that season as she helped OU to the program's third national championship.

Nichols topped 39.900 in the all-around four times in her career, including a 39.925 in 2017. That score is the fourth-highest all-around score in NCAA history. She is one of just seven gymnasts to reach 39.900 and the only one to have accomplished the feat more than once.

She also won two titles on the uneven bars, one on vault and one on the floor exercise.

In 2019, she won the Honda Sport Award for women's gymnastics and was a finalist all four years of her collegiate career. 

She became the first athlete in NCAA history to complete two "Gym Slams" — a perfect 10 in every event — during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She recorded an OU-record 22 perfect scores during her career as well as setting records for event titles (148), bars titles (35), beam titles (30) and all-around titles (32).


Related Photos
University of Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes in the floor routine during the women's gymnastics competition between the University of Oklahoma and Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.   [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

University of Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes in the floor routine during the women's gymnastics competition between the University of Oklahoma and Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-dd14c66b41e1b5120ff93483ec2908a0.jpg" alt="Photo - University of Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes in the floor routine during the women's gymnastics competition between the University of Oklahoma and Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="University of Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes in the floor routine during the women's gymnastics competition between the University of Oklahoma and Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>University of Oklahoma's Maggie Nichols competes in the floor routine during the women's gymnastics competition between the University of Oklahoma and Arkansas at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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