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Shavahn Nikole Church was born on May 3rd, 1989 in Van Nuys, California. Shavahn currently lives in Tarzana, and makes daily trips to her gym Wallers' GymJam Academy, in Santa Clarita. Shavahn began her Gymnastics career at Li Nings Gymnastics in Chatsworth, California at Age seven. Later this gym merged with Le Club Gymnastics and became TLC. When the merge happened Shavahn kept her coach Ming Ming Yang, the former head coach of the Chinese National Team. Shavahn was coached by Ming until age 12. Ming has returned to China in order to help the Chinese National team prepare for the 2008 "Beijing" Olympic Games. Shavahn is currently coached by Chris Waller and Kristen Maloney.
Although Shavahn started competing as a level 10, the highest of the junior olympic levels, Shavahn’s named didn't appeared on the radar screen until 2002. In 2002 she became the level 10 Regional Bar Champion, but was unfortunately injured shortly before 2002 JO Nationals. Her injured hamstring allowed her to compete only bars at the meet, but she still managed a spectacular 3rd place finish. Shavahn tested elite in 2003, and made international elite her 1st try and with one of the highest compulsory scores for quite awhile. Shavahn went on to competed at the 2003 American Classic, where she won bars and placed 4th AA, qualifying to US Nationals for the 1st time.
Shavahn excellent at her first nationals, but walked out of the arena without a spot on the national team. Controversy concerning her bar routine initially kept her off the National team, but the women's Elite committee re-examined the routine and determined Shavahn had not been given credit for some new and unique skills. Shavahn was then added to the Junior national team unranked and was invited to her first national training camp in October. In January of 2004 Shavahn was invited back to the ranch to compete in a small in-house competition versus Japan. Expecting to do well, Shavahn was a little disappointed with her results and returned to California with the determination and mind set to do better next time.
Shavahn easily qualified to Nationals in 2004 by placing 5th AA at the American Classic. Her teammate London was injured throughout the year, and was finally able to compete at the US Classic, where Shavahn went along for the experience. Shavahn again placed very high, with a 5th place AA finish and a bronze medal on floor. Shavahn trained hard going into the 2004 US National championship, but suffered a broken hand on her first event, bars. By September of 2004 Shavahn was back on track and learning new skills. She was well prepared and looking forward to the national team training camp in October, when disaster struck once again. During the first rotation, on the first day of camp, Shavahn had an awkward fall off bars on a release move. Shavahn tweaked her knee, and a later MRI revealed a torn ACL. Shavahn continues to be dedicated to the sport, and is hoping for a full return from her injury.
In mid-2005 Shavahn announced her intentions to compete for Great Britain through the 2008 season. "My Mom and Dad are both British, and my sisters Carley and Jade were both born in the UK. We have tons of family over there and both of my Grandmothers live in England, so I'll get to see them more often. Also due to my Injury there was not much chance of me making the World's team for the USA, as we thought I would only be ready on Bars," Shavahn said of her decision. Shavahn continues to live and train in the United States but will have frequent trips to England for camps, competitions, and some additional training time. Shavahn successfully made the British World team in November of 2005 and finished 20th AA in the AA competition.
In 2006 Shavahn once again traveled to England where she placed 1st AA at Commonwealth Team Trials. Shavahn was named to the England Commonwealth Team along with Imogen Cairns, Hannah Clowes, Beckie Downie, and Beth Tweddle. Shavahn did will the first day of competition qualifying to AA finals with a 54.350 and the England team taking the Silver medal. Shavahn placed 5th in the all around during finals right behind fellow teammate Imogen Cairn. Shavahn went on to earn the silver medal in bars during event finals and her piked ray was added to the code of points as “The Church.” Later in the year Shavahn compoete din the British Team Championships for Heathrow Gymnastics where her team took 1st. Shavahn was named to the team going to European Championships in Greece, however was injured on floor during the first day of competition. Shavahn’s MRI revealed a torn ACL on her previously healthy leg. Shavahn underwent a successful surgery in May of 2006.
In spring of 2007 Shavahn was able to compete in two invitational held in her home state of California. She was well enough to compete all four events at each of the competitions; however, she did not compete full difficulty. In June she was named to a to the England team traveling to Brazil to compete in a tri-meet competition, but was suffered her third ACL tear on her beam dismount during training. Shavahn is currently a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is still recovering from her previous surgeries, but has been able to successfully compete bars for the team. Shavahn does not know what the future holds for her, but at this point has not closed the doors on returning to elite competition in the future.