Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times

Millie Andrilenas is a 17 year old girl who was born in China and adopted at 16 months old by Jim and Minah Andrilenas.

Millie was born with a congenital malformation of her left hand. She has only a minimally developed bump of a hand beyond her left wrist bone. But she never used it as an excuse for not living her passion.

Millie who has been doing gymnastics since childhood, is the best gymnast at her high school (Juanita). She was an individual qualifier for last year’s 3A/2A state meet in two events: floor and vault. In meets this season she has placed first, second and fourth in all-around.

“She’s my best gymnast,” said Smith, a former gymnast who is not a part of Juanita’s faculty. “She’s consistent, and her power level is amazing. People think, ‘Wow, that came out of that girl?’

“She’s got excellent technique. She’s a club-trained gymnast. She’s got the background of any competitive gymnast. The only difference is the length of her left arm.”

In everyday life, Millie does everything normally like fixing her hair but there are other things which she needs help with like opening a package.

Gymnastically, Andrilenas gets her left arm taped from the forearm down to protect her truncated limb. When whirling on uneven bars, she hooks her left elbow on the lower bar to cast herself to the high bar. 

Beside gymnastics, Millie  plays for the school’s soccer team but gymnastics is her one true love.

It doesn’t matter if you have any ‘issues,’ ” the astonishing teenager said. “If you really want to do something, if you want it with your whole life, you can do it.”

Written By Gigi Khazback Farid


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