By John "Woods" Armwood III
This child prodigy may be one of the most talented individuals to ever step foot in the state of New Jersey. The New York native, Taylor Dior, had an unorthodox route to stardom. However, she’s still managed to reach a level of stardom and popularity through all the trials and tribulations in her young career. The 14-year-old began her life as a child actress under the umbrella of ZOOM Talent Management. In fact, she was a proven child actress. She performed on the TV show “Guilty” and also appeared in an off Broadway play, Fences, with Tony award winner, Phylicia Rashad. While she found success in theater, it didn’t fulfill her as she would have hoped. At the age of eight, she understood her passions lie elsewhere and she decided to pursue gymnastics full-time.
Ultimately this forced her to move to New Jersey to be closer to gymnastics in order to fully devote all of her time to it, where she was homeschooled for the majority of her life. The homeschooling allowed more time to train. It’s safe to say she learned how to balance a rigorous schedule at a young age. She emphasized how mentally tough these workouts were, but for love of the sport, she regularly put that aside.
When previously mentioning her early childhood acting career, when asked if she’d ever be open to returning, she responded:
“I feel I have more freedom in the sports world versus the entertainment industry,” Dior explained. “I’m grateful for Kim Pedell and all she’s done for my career. However, it was a great experience and I learned from it, but I wouldn’t step back into the entertainment industry unless it was sports-related.”
Transitioning from Actor to Athlete
When turning to full-time to gymnastics, this greatly benefited her in ways she couldn't imagine in the near future. Going into her freshman year of high school, she decided to transition again from gymnastics to track and field, due to her mother’s coworker telling her about a great high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey to check out, Union Catholic. She decided to go visit and met with the track coach, Coach McCabe, and she never looked back. She began track for the first time in October 2021 and by March 2022 things were different. In the span of six months, Dior managed to break the record of arguably one of the greatest athletes ever to come from New Jersey, Sydney McLaughlin. She also won the national title and is officially the fastest hurdler in New Jersey history.
Naturally, her stamina and flexibility helped her excel at such a rapid rate while performing on track. She explains in detail how she often looks up to Athing Mu and McLaughlin for running styles. Dior understands in order to reach her peak potential she must learn to run effortlessly even when fatigued. In great detail, she explains the parts of their running styles she studies and admires.
“ I love how they run effortlessly even while being so tired,” she emphasized. “ I hope I reach that one-day, it’ll really help my times.”
Dior is not Living in Others' Shadow
It can be difficult for upcoming athletes to step into worlds of their own. Naturally, Dior and McLaughlin are going to be linked, though Dior just surpassed her record. Not to mention, Dior’s trajectory, at the moment is set to be just as good if not better, than McLaughlin. However, she emphatically explains that while she admires McLaughlin, she just wants to live her own life and travel down her own path. Dior is here to pave her own way and live her journey.
“No disrespect to those other girls, but I’m here living my life and my life only,” Dior stated.
This is why her recognition and impact on the sport thus far is what she treasures the most. Dior’s “Sh3GotGame” moment comes from being written about and interviewed on several different platforms. She’s understanding that as she grows more popular, many will attempt to share her story, therefore, giving her more opportunity to touch and inspire others.
In conclusion, she’s just beginning her journey and has so much more to give to the world and a bright future. She has the potential to be one the greatest athletes to ever come out of the state of New Jersey. When asked if there was any advice she’d like to offer to any younger girls or boys who may be looking up to her, she responded:
"Always do you, and believe in yourself. Whenever people doubt you, it’s more of an insecurity with themselves that they’re projecting on you. Your journey is your journey; control your narrative and future.”