It was a hectic week both in and out of the gym, but somehow I managed to get all of my assignments done! Not only was it a hard training week but I had my normal work to get done for my part-time jobs, and on top of all of that, our gym held a boy’s camp (that was the fun part!).
It was exciting to see a bunch of the local kids get together and train under the same roof. While summer is generally the busiest time for elite gymnasts because of all of the big competitions that are held during this time of the year, kids in the US use this time to train new skills and develop strength for the competitive season that starts in January. Everyone worked super hard and it was fun to see the improvements that happened all across the gym. I know from experience that getting advice from a different coach can make a big difference even though they might be saying the same exact thing that you hear everyday from your personal coach. Hearing the same thing over and over from the same coach can have a numbing effect, which is one of the reasons why these camps can be so effective.
I’m totally excited to see these kids again when their competitive season starts up again in January.
Well, my work week is over…well almost. Tomorrow, I’m heading up north to a gym that’s about two hours to run a clinic. I wouldn’t offically call this work though because I enjoy working with new gymnasts. I’ve never been up to their gym but I’m looking forward to seeing everyone up there!
For those of you who haven’t heard, the latest buzz in the gym world (at least in the US) is that the UC Berkeley’s Men’s Gymnastics team is on the chopping block and is in jeopardy of losing their program.
A lot of this has to do with the budget cuts going on in the UC system. Whatever the reason, losing Cal will definitely hurt NCAA gymnastics and USA Gymnastics as whole.
Cal is one of Stanford’s main competitors during the regular season because of proximity. If Cal gets cut, Stanford will definitely take a huge hit as we’ll be forced to travel out of the state every single time we need to compete (the only two schools with a men’s gymnastics program that’s left in California are Stanford and Cal). When that happens, the closest team will be Air Force in Colorado, and that’s pretty darn far! More importantly, it’ll mean a mean a huge financial strain on Stanford.
There’s less than 20 men’s teams left in the NCAA. Considering how great their program has been doing on a national level, we cannot let Cal drop it’s program.
I’m hoping that Cal pulls through! Please spread the word and if possible write a personalized letter/donate at the following website: Cal Gymnastics Forever
Even though I’m a Stanford alum, I’m pulling for Cal for now!
It’s warm outside, the days are longer, and everyone’s released from school. What does this mean? It’s officially summer time! Not that this really matters to me all that much because I’ve been out of school for a while but the summer time always makes me a bit more happy. But then again, I personally feel that summer is the worst time for indoor sports. Not only because I want to be outside more than I want to be inside, but the gyms get ridiculously hot during this time of the year.
Generally, gyms in northern California don’t have A/C units because the hot season doesn’t last for all that long. But when it does get hot, it gets pretty darn hot. And the worst part about all of this is that gymnasts train on equipments that are rather high, and we also know that heat naturally rise to the top. Put two and two together and you realize that it gets pretty steamy while we train. Anyway, enough with the bad stuff.
Onto something good…last week I had an opportunity to talk to a columnist, Patty Fisher, at the San Jose Mercury. She ended up writing a piece on me, my life, and goal in gymnastics. Here is a direct link to it: San Jose Mercury Article
Just wanted to say a quick thanks Patty for the article and to all the people for the support. I’m an incredibly lucky guy to have so many people around to help me along in this journey. Next step is USA Championships. It’ll be my first competition back in over a year so naturally I’m getting a bit anxious. Doesn’t do me any good to worry though. I have to focus on the present and make sure I deal with whatever I can control in the “now.” One step at a time!
Heard an exciting news today. The 2012 US Olympic Trials will be held in San Jose at the HP Pavilion, which is basically in my own backyard!
It’s always fun having the home crowd behind you as you compete. In fact, USA Championships in 2007 was held at the same site and I had a blast.
I know I’m not the only one working hard right now. Everyone is gearing up and training hard as we enter the second half of this quadrennium. Again, it’s important not only to train hard but also to train smart!
After a ton of miscommunication, meetings with administrators, and 5 1/2 years worth of classes, I finally got my diploma today! It was a long time running, and there were definitely some frustrating points, but I’m finally finished and I’m thankful for all the friends and family that supported me over these years. The reason it took so long was not because I was failing classes…instead it was because there were a ton of classes that I couldn’t take during the normal scheduled time due to my training and all the traveling I was doing to compete for Stanford as well as the US National Team. On top of that, I was finishing up two degrees.
Although I was officially done with my studies during the winter, I never got that sense of being completely finished because I had to wait on getting the diploma until l now (I believe they only print it during the fall and the summer, and I had missed the fall deadline). Today, I walked into the registrar’s office to pick it up. No waiting because I was first in line! Didn’t go through all the graduation ceremonies because I took part in it in ’08 when I was officially supposed to graduate.
Below are some random pictures I took of the Stanford campus. Lots of good memories!
Just got back from San Francisco after getting some training done for my new job. Recently I got called on by a good friend, old teammate, and former Stanford standout, Dan Gill, to help him at his company, Huddler. More computer work for me as I’ve been working for a start-up in Palo Alto called Doostang for the past few months. These types of jobs are super ideal for me as I can do my work online and I don’t necessarily need to be at the office all the time.
The addition of my work at Huddler basically puts me at four jobs. In addition, I private coach and do some academic tutoring on the side. Oh, the life of a gymnast. I gotta do whatever to stay afloat. Realizing more and more how spoiled I was during my years at Stanford. No worries about housing, food, or medical fees. Now I’m responsible for coming up with all of them! Yikes.
Anyway, despite my busy and packed schedule, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given and how supportive the people around me have been with my journey. Thanks for everything and check back in!
* I wanted to take a picture of Huddler’s office but I forgot my camera. It was a really nice place in the middle of downtown SF!
Whew, almost done with my hard cycle! Just like there are good days and bad days with anything, your body condition go through waves . However, in order to gain that extra strength (or that extra burst of strength at the end of the routine), it’s especially important to push through the days when your body doesn’t feel like it wants to do its thing.
Anyway the training the last couple of weeks have been fairly tough, especially with the increase in volume (the number of routines per day). The only thing that’s keeping me going is knowing that I’ll be that much stronger after my body recovers from all the stress I’ve been putting it through! Just need to trust my coach and keep on pluggin’ away!
Even though I’m on a different boat than a lot of the other athletes, particularly with coming back from the ACL injury, I know that everyone is working hard and fighting through their own struggles. Had a little chat the other day with former world champ, and good friend, Fabian Hambuechen. Even though he’s healthy and good to go, he said he’s struggling from the lack of break from competing. He’s been going non-stop for the last several months. Hearing that definitely makes me feel better, knowing that I’m not alone in this struggle.
It’s a couple more months until the USA Championships. Slowly but surely, I’m getting there!
As many of you may or may not already know by now, I’ve been training at Champions Academy (about 45 minutes from Stanford in a town called Morgan Hill), with a former World Champ and Olympian, Jinjing Zhang for about a year now. I made this move right after I finished up my studies/eligibility at Stanford.
Even though it’s only been a short amount of time, I’m already feeling a strong attachment to the program, the coaches, and the staff at this gym. After all they treat me as though I’m part of their family. In fact, every Friday, Jinjing and his family has me stay at his house, in order to save the drive I have to make to get to the gym in the morning the next day. I’ll admit that it’s difficult to replace the training environment that I had at Stanford, especially being able to train with older guys that were around the same level, and the coaching I had from my former coach, Thom Glielmi. However, Jinjing brings a whole new perspective to my understanding of gymnastics, which I believe is a great thing for me. Not to mention, a few of the guys that recently graduated from nearby UC Berkeley, comes and trains with me every once in a while, which totally helps with my motivation in the gym.
This summer will be an exciting one for me. Not only will I be competing for the first time after recovering from my knee injury, but it’ll also be the first to represent my new gym, Champions!