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Lucky leotards: Whitefish Bay gymnast wins state title wearing coach’s vintage apparel

Data pix.

WHITEFISH BAY -- A lot goes into being a successful gymnast: speed, power, grace, body control and, in some cases, apparel.

The WIAA held its 50th annual state gymnastics meet in early March, just before sports competitions began to shut down and history merged with the present even more than expected.

Addie Gallun is a junior from Whitefish Bay High School who has been one of the top performers in Wisconsin since she was a freshman. Her routines looked as sharp at ever at state, but her leotards looked a little different.

Addie Gallun

"No one wore vintage leotards except for me, so everyone was saying 'Why are you wearing such old leotards?' And I was like, 'For fun,'" Gallun said. "I wasn't about to tell them what it was for."

It was actually for luck -- and more.

In 1976, the Whitefish Bay Blue Dukes' coach, Mary Liniewski, was a ninth-grader at Webster School in Milwaukee and won a state title in bars -- in her blue leotard. In 1999, Julie Stefan, who would become a teacher in the Whitefish Bay school system, was the vault and all-around state champion -- in her black leotard.

Gallun reached back into the archives, winning the bars in blue and the vault in black.

"Both of them were very different feels than what it was to wear my original competition leo, the one I have been wearing my entire high school career," said Gallun. "It was cool to get a new feel. It didn't feel different, but I felt more confident in them, in a way."

Whitefish Bay is a perennial state contender in Division II but faces injuries and stiff competition this season. Liniewski's father passed away during sectionals weekend, making the state weekend a very emotional time.

Mary Liniewski

"To see Addie, who I raised in a gym since she was little, and to see that when she put on my leotard, it brought me to tears, to be honest," Liniewski said. "It was such a very special moment to see that. It sat in the closet for 45 years...I was so proud, very proud.

Gallun's pair of event wins helped her claim the 2020 state all-around title.

"I started crying, I am not going to lie...my coach has a video of me hugging all my teammates when they announced my name," said Gallun. "It was something that was really special to me, and I wanted it, but I wasn't going to be upset if it didn't happen."

The sport of gymnastics has come an awful long way in the last 50 years, and a 2020 champion helped bring some of that progress right to the podium.

Gallun has already undergone offseason ankle surgery and hopes to be able to go for more state titles as a senior. Her coach says the lucky leotards are going to be hung in Whitefish Bay's gymnastics gym until another Blue Duke may need some luck at a state meet in the future.

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