Archive for June, 2009

Put a Ring on it

The other day, I went and picked up my letterman award for finishing up my senior year at Stanford.  As freshmen we get a jacket, sophomores – clock, juniors – blanket, and seniors – a ring.  The ring is gold and the design is pretty simple.  All it has is an “S” (for Stanford), but I’ve gotta admit, this ring symbolizes many things.  While I’m excited to get my NCAA Championship ring (they’ll be sending it to us in a couple of weeks!) I think this letterman ring is just as special.  Looking at it makes me think of all the fun times as well as the tough workouts that I had to go through in college.  It was an awesome experience to be able to train day in and day out with a group of guys that I now consider to be my “brothers.”  This ring will also always remind me that the process, or the road that you take to get to a goal is more important than anything else.  As my old coach, Vitaly, used to preach, “you have to learn to enjoy the process.”

Stanford Ring

Stanford Ring (sorry the pic is a bit blurry)

As for training, everything is going pretty well.  It’s my heavy training week so I’m knocking out a lot of numbers and trying to get through more routines.  The good thing is that I will start tapering down next week in order to get ready for the meet in Japan in two weeks.  The downside is that it’s scorching hot right now in California.  I guess I shouldn’t be complaining though because it’s not as humid as it is in other parts of the US, however, it sure would be nice to have an A/C system in the gym.  I guess most gyms in California don’t have an A/C system though because the hot season doesn’t last for all that long.  Anyway, a few more tough trainings to get through this week but I’m definitely “enjoying the process!”

Back At It

National team camp ended yesterday and now I’m back home in California.  Overall the camp went well.  Again, it was a great atmosphere because it was a joint national team camp which included both the senior team and some of the junior guys.  It was great to see all the younger guys getting strong as it definitely showed the depth of the US National Team.

As posted a few days ago, Friday was an intra-squad day and we went through all six events.  For me, most of my routines went well except for some mistakes on a couple of events.  The intra-squad served as a good opportunity to see where I’m at and it definitely told me the places I need to work on as I get ready for the Japan Cup and the Visa Championships.

For the last day of camp, we met with a Sports Psychologist to talk about some of the mental aspect of our sport.  It was an interesting talk and we learned how to use visualization effectively in order to prepare ourselves mentally for practice as well as competitions.  And finally, to finish up the camp, we went to go the yoga studio again.  Since there were more people than last time, the place seemed a lot hotter (we did the hot yoga a.k.a Bikram yoga).  I definitely thought that I was going to pass out this time.  I guess it wasn’t a good idea that I ate a whole slab of steak right before going there.

Anyway, now I’m back in California and ready to get back to training at my own gym.  Camp was a great motivator and it should keep me going for the next couple of weeks until I leave for Japan!

Camp Begins

So today was our first day of national team camp.  Most of us spent the day doing basics and getting used to the equipment at the OTC.  We basically treated today as preparation for tomorrow as we are having an intra-squad (practice meet) with some judges coming in.  This will be a tune-up for myself and the four other guys who are competing in Japan in a few weeks (you can find the participant list for the meet here: Japan Cup Roster).  Tomorrow will also be good practice for the guys who are competing at qualifiers as well as USA Championships in August.  I know some of the guys are trying new tricks in their routines so tomorrow’s intra-squad should be interesting.

After workout, about half of us got together and went and watched the new Transformers movie.  Truthfully, I didn’t think it lived up to the first one but I will admit that it was entertaining.  Going to the movie was also good because it allowed us to get off the training center complex for a bit and just relax.  Anyway, better hit the sack so I can rest up for tomorrow’s practice meet!

Back Again

After a long day of traveling, I’m finally checked in at the Olympic Training Center (from San Jose, we went through Phoenix and then to Colorado Springs).  While traveling was draining, the great thing about this time was that I got to come here with my Stanford teammate (as well as teammate on the US National Team), David Sender.  Last time I was here I had to travel alone because Dave was at a competition in Moscow.

as you can see, Dave is very camera shy

as you can see, Dave is very camera shy

Anyway, we’re all pretty much settled.  Earlier, we went to the gym to stretch a little and had some food down at the cafeteria.  I may go and see some old friends later on as this was my home a few years ago but since camp is starting tomorrow, I may just stay in and relax.  This camp will be fun, especially since some of the junior guys are joining us this week.  We’ll get to see how everyone is doing.

Make it or break it?

So I was flipping through the channels today and guess who I saw on TV?  It was my friend, Tasha (Schwikert)!

To my surprise, it looks as though ABC Family is starting a new girl’s gymnastics show called, Make it or Break it.  I’m not sure what the story is about but I’m assuming it’s going to be like the movie, Stick It.  I watched about 5 minutes of it and thought that the story was way too dramatized and didn’t accurately portray the sport of gymnastics.  That said, I probably won’t continue to watch it t but I wanted to mention it because I thought it was interesting that they’re starting a new show about women’s gym.

Make it or Break it

Make it or Break it

I wonder what the public will think if there was a men’s gymnastics show and who will actually star in it.  I would love to see my friend Sean Golden as a character in the show because he is an entertainer.  However, something tells me that a men’s gymnastics show  won’t be all that popular and will only get few viewership.  It might be interesting to watch though.

As for gymnastics movies, I’ve gotta say I like Gymkata.  It’s an old film and it stars Kurt Thomas (the inventor of the Thomas Flare).  The movie is totally random.  He is basically a warrior that uses his gymnastics skills to fight zombies (for example, he uses pommel horse shaped stones to do circles on and kick bad guys who run into him).  Regardless, the movie is very funny and interesting.  There  are other gymnastics movies out there but I’ve gotta say that in terms of entertainment factor, Gymakata is the best.  Check it out when you get a chance!

Gymkata aka "funniest gymnastics movie ever"

Gymkata aka "funniest gymnastics movie ever"

Fun Day Sunday

It was nice to finally get a day off from gym! I spent most of the day trying not to do anything phsycial, thinking that I needed all the recovery I can get.  However, I did get a haircut which was nice considering it’s getting a bit hotter here.  Plus I hate it when my hair gets in the way of my practice.

Aside from that, I went to my old teammates’ place and we just hung out.  It was good to be able to catch up and chill out in the sun.  It’s crazy thinking that most of my friends that I graduated with are done with gymnastics.  However, they’re working a lot and just doing the world good, which is a great thing.

After hanging out, I went out and watched a Japanese movie called “Departures” at a local theater.  I thought it was a really good film.  Unfortunately it’s only playing in select theaters because it’s a foreign film.  Either way, the movie is nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” for this year’s Academy Awards and has won a bunch of other awards in Japan.

Well that was basically my Sunday.  It was a relaxing day and I’m all rested up so I should be ready to go strong again with my practices starting tomorrow.  Next week should be exciting because we leave for our national team camp on Wednesday.  It’ll also be good to see all the guys again.

15 Straight Directors' Cup!

Congrats to Stanford athletics for claiming the Directors’ Cup!  I don’t know the exact details but  points basically are awarded to different sports based on how they finish in the post-season.

Directors' Cup

I believe men’s gymnastics racked in a lot of points for Stanford for winning the team title at the NCAA Championships.  This is exciting stuff, not to mention that there were a lot of high finishes in other sports and we’ve won the last 15 Directors’ Cup.  It’s no wonder why so many people want to be a part of Stanford athletics.

Stanford finished with a total of 1,455 points after placing in 23 postseason championships and earning points in a maximum of 10 women’s sports and 10 men’s sports. Stanford boasted an impressive 10 top-five finishes this season, taking home the men’s gymnastics and women’s rowing championships, placing second in women’s volleyball and men’s water polo, and third in men’s cross country, men’s swimming, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, and women’s water polo. In addition, Stanford was fourth in women’s swimming, seventh in men’s track and field, eighth in women’s cross country and women’s gymnastics, ninth in fencing, women’s softball, women’s tennis and men’s tennis, 11th in men’s track and field, 12th in women’s track and field, 20th in men’s golf, 40th in women’s golf, 43rd in women’s track and field and 51st in men’s wrestling.

Stanford has won at least one national championship for 33 consecutive years, an ongoing NCAA record.

gostanford – Stanford Claims 15th Consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup

Congrats again to all the athletes, coaches, and staff for all the hard work this year.  Hopefully this win streak continues!

Bummed Bum

I definitely was not at my sharpest today.  In fact, I struggled with pretty much all the events.  I started with a very short landing on floor and ended the day with slamming my butt on the parallel bars doing an under bar skill (hence the title of today’s post).  I think my butt might be bruised but luckily it’s nothing serious.

Workout was a struggle but I’m definitely glad to be done and at home now.  Today was basically one of those days that I just had to get through.  After all, we all know that it’s important to overcome tough workouts in order to come out stronger.  Plus you know what they say, “nothing worthwhile comes easily.”  It’s the work, and the hard work that gets you there in the end.

Now that I’m done for the day, I think I might take a hot shower and just chill out for the rest of the night.  I have one more workout tomorrow, but after that I’m free for the weekend.  I’m definitely looking forward to relaxing and resting my body.  With my free time I’m thinking that I’ll either go watch the Hangover or Up. Anyone see those movies lately?  Leave a comment!

See you all in Japan!

Yesterday, I said goodbye to a person who I now consider to be a good friend of mine.  He studied at the Stanford Business School, and we met and started working together when he asked for my tutoring service (I tutor English to Japanese people who come through Stanford).  However, with the school year over and his company asking him to come back, he and his family must leave to go back to their home country.  It was awesome that we had the chance to get to know each other, but it’s definitely sad when you have to say goodbye.  Unfortunately, I have met many people through my tutoring service that have had to come and go.  This is the case with all Japanese people that come to Stanford because all of them need to get back to their lives/business in Japan after finishing up their studies.  However, the great thing is that most of us continue to stay in touch and I’m actually hoping to see some of them when I go to Japan for the competition next month.  It’ll be great to get to see them in person and catch up on all the things that have happened since they left.  I’m definitely looking forward to it!

First things first. I need to continue to train hard in the gym to get ready for the Japan meet.  There’s just about 4 weeks left until we compete but before that, the national team is set to meet next week in Colorado for another training camp.  It’s time to turn up the intensity again!

Evolution of Warm-ups

I was digging through my closet the other day and guess what I found?  I discovered my dad’s old Stanford warm-up from the mid 90s (he used to coach back in the day).  Just because I was curious, I decided to pull out the ones I wore while I was on the collegiate team and laid them side by side.  It was pretty cool to compare the two.

mid 90s warm-up (left), current warm-up (right)

mid 90s warm-up (left), current warm-up (right)

Unfortunately, I don’t think that I would want to wear the old uniform but it seems as though the candy cane design was “in” back in the day.  I can’t say too many bad things about it though because the Stanford Men’s Gymnastics team was pretty dominant back in the day (they won back to back national titles in ’92 and ’93, and they also won again in ’95).

It’s pretty interesting to see that just like popular fashion have changed over the years, so has the designs of warm-ups.  I guess you could say that in the early 90s they definitely liked brighter colors.  Anyway, hopefully I can find some of Stanford’s old uniforms so that I can also compare those to the ones we wear today.

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