Hope everyone had a fun and safe fourth! Had a fun and eventful weekend myself, but before I go on let me do a quick rewind about a week or so. A post has been long over due so I’m trying to condense most of what happened last week into this one! Don’t know what kept me busy all this time (probably extra assignments from work) but my apologies for not writing in a while.
Ok, rewinding back to last weekend. Trekked north about two hours, passed some hills, more hills, some fields, the great capital of California, and finally to a town called Auburn. The local club, Auburn Gymnastics, called me up to help their kids as a feature clinician! It was a scorching hot day, but I had a blast nonetheless because I got to work with some great kids that were excited about the sport of gymnastics!
Wanted to give a quick shout out to the coaches and parents and say thanks for hosting me. Again, I’m amazed with the dedication of the staff and the parents of all gymnasts (in particular the ones that live away from central gymnastics locations). I managed to keep myself busy during the two hour drive by surfing through all the radio stations, but these parents do it every weekend to take their kids to meets during competition season. Success does not only come around because of the gymnasts’ hard work, but it’s also due to the hard work of everybody around! It’s an obvious statement, but it’s something that we tend to forget every once in a while.
Anyway, I’m glad that I’m having the opportunity to work with a ton of different kids. It’s fun seeing the variety of training programs that coaches have in place for them. Hopefully they keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing them next season!
Now, back to the fourth of July weekend. It was pretty eventful to say the least. First off, I took part in a parade and sat on a float alongside my coach to promote our gym, Champions Academy. The best part was being able to see my coach’s Olympic and world championship medals. It wasn’t my first time seeing them but I get super excited every single time. So there we were sitting on a float, a former Olympian, and next to him, an aspiring one!
After the parade, I went to an amusement park to check out my childhood friend, Sergei, perform in a show there. I’ve known Sergei for a long time as we used to compete against each other since we were young kids all the way through college. Super great gymnast but retired soon after graduating from his university. Coincidentally, he got a summer gig to work as an acrobat at a show close to where I’m living. The show was exciting as it was a hybrid of gymnastics, rollerblading, bmx biking, among other extreme sports!
At night, went and saw some beautiful fireworks and celebrated Indepdence Day. Place was packed and took about a half an hour just to get back onto the freeway but it was well worth it. Summer is always a great time. Lots of activities, and as always, a ton of training for the athletes!
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!
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!
Just like anybody I know, I love watching YouTube videos.
Anyway, I recently came across a neat video (below) that features some of the best gymnasts to come out of Japan in recent years
Crazy thing is I’ve pretty much met everyone featured in the video, but the craziest thing is that I’ve been directly coached by a few of them throughout my years as a gymnast. Some of the coaches include Koichi Mizushima and Hatakeda Yoshiaki (coach of Kohei Uchimura, the reigning world champion). And most recently, I trained with Tomita Hiroyuki and Kashima Takehiro while I was in Japan for three months during my study-abroad program.
If only I could become as great as them…
I guess the solution is simple. Train hard!
The current buzz in the gym world is that a Chinese Olympian at the 2000 Sydney Games was underage at the time she competed (the FIG states that says you have to be at least 16), and thus, the entire Chinese team that placed third is packing up their medals and shipping them to the US team that placed right behind.
Personally, I feel that the age limit should be taken away. I think that if you’re good enough to compete at the highest level, you should be able to do so regardless of your age. But rules are rules, and if it’s in print, you’ve gotta follow them. It’s great that the US team is getting their medal but I feel for the team that should’ve competed at the Sydney Games but didn’t get the chance to. After all, the girl that was caught as being underage also competed at the world championships the year before, which served as the qualifying competition for the Olympics. Total bummer.
My website’s got a new style and new look thanks to my friend, Ryan Olson. Ryan does a lot of web developing and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to coding for websites. Check out his work at: thatryan.com!
Take a bit to check around the new site and please continue to follw me, follow my dream!
After a 9 hour plane ride from Tokyo, the Japanese team got to the Bay Area yesterday morning. From what they told me, they used most of yesterday to go shopping and stayed busy in order to curb their desire to want to sleep. There’s a huge time difference between Japan and the US, and I know from going back and forth that it’s really hard to stay up when you’re coming to the US. I usually “take a nap” in the middle of the day and wake up, only to realize that it’s past midnight.
Anyway, they came to the gym today and we had the opportunity to train with them. Since it was their first day in the gym, they used much of the training time to get acclimated to the environment and to the equipment. Again, I know from experience that American equipment is very different from the ones they use in Japan so it usually takes a while to get used to. Regardless, they looked good and should put up a strong team for the competition this weekend.
Aside from training, it was great to catch up with old friends and coaches. In fact, I trained with two of the gymnasts while I was at Juntendo. It seems like forever since I saw them but in reality it has only been less than a month. Either way, it was fun to be able to hear about their lives and about all of my friends back at the university. It was also great seeing the coaches. In fact, two of them have Stanford ties. Mutsumi (Harada) helped coach the collegiate team from 2005-2006, while the other coach, Koichi (Mizushima), coached me at Stanford back in 1999-2000. In a way, it felt like homecoming.
They’ll be here for a couple more days before they head to Oakland. This time I’ll get to show them around as they did for me back in Japan!
It was another busy week for me, both in and out of the gym. The combination of my part-time tutoring job, getting settled down after coming back from Japan, and practices have kept me running around the past few weeks. The fact that it’s also competition season is making things just a bit more hectic. I’m pretty much on-the-go every weekend with either coaching or judging. In fact, I just came back from judging at a local competition a little while ago.
However, the big thing that happened this week was that the Winter Cup Challenge took place. For us, US gymnasts, there are two big domestic meets every year. The Winter Cup Challenge is held every February, while the US Championships takes place every August. Both competitions serve as re-ranking meets for the national team.
Unfortunately, given that I’m still rehabbing my knee, I was not able to participate this time around. After all, I have not had enough time since the surgery for me to be safely competing again. My coach and I figured that the best thing for me to do right now is to continue to keep the big picture in mind and take the time to fully heal up before returning to competition again. Our expected return is in the summer for the US Championships. Despite not being able to compete, the fact that the Winter Cup took place had a fairly large impact on me. After reading the meet report online, I got even more motivated about returning to the floor again. While I’m anxious about returning, I have to keep in mind that I need to stay patient and not get ahead of myself . Nevertheless, training over the next couple of months will be very exciting.