Archive for the Off Hours Category

Strength Comes In The Struggle!

I have a feeling that this will be the title to a lot of my future blog posts!  Ok, I take that back…I’m sure that I’ll be using this title many times!  We have a banner in the gym that reads this, and it is something that our coach tells us all the time.  However, it’s totally true…training is never easy and we need to push through the difficult practices in order to get stronger.  I especially need to remind myself of this as I go through the specific training phase that I’m in right now.  Even though I’ve been keeping in shape after finishing NCAAs, I did take a bit of break from doing routines (one month), and wow, I can’t believe how quickly your endurance goes.  The particular phase I’m going through is focused on getting back in routine shape and I must say, it’s not a fun time (I think a lot of gymnasts will agree to this).

strength comes in the struggle!

strength comes in the struggle!

With our current code of points (rule for gymnastics) we are required to put together 10 high level skills in sequence for each routine, which means we need  a lot of endurance in order to finish our sets strong.  Hence, the last couple of days have been focused on getting this endurance back.  Better start now though!  High altitude training at the Olympic Training Center (the training center is in Colorado) is right around the corner!

Back to training!

21 May Sho 1 Comment »

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I competed with my team at NCAAs!  I must admit, this year’s NCAAs was the most exciting meet that I’ve ever competed in! Collegiate meets are definitely on a very different level in terms of energy and the amount of school spirit that fills the arena.  It’s also an awesome feeling to be able to compete with the guys that you train with day in and day out.  However, what made this competition even better was that we won!  This was our first national title in 14 years so we were definitely thrilled about coming out as champions.  It was also a great way to finish off my collegiate career.

2009 champs

2009 NCAA Champs!

This is how my teammate, Nick, summed up our NCAA experience on his Facebook:

Our team on Friday night consisted of incredibly well seasoned NCAA competitors. Each man’s performance was a reflection of the mental and physical preparation we worked so hard all year to achieve.

A great deal of credit must go to the legacy of fantastic gymnasts competing for Stanford before I even came to this university. Gymnasts like David Sender, Dylan Carney, Eli Alcaraz, Chris Harper, Brice Rolston, David Durante…these guys and others set a high standard for our men’s gymnastics program, and without their continual support this championship would not have been possible. Much of my joy comes from knowing that we made them proud this weekend.

The final rotation at NCAA championships on Friday was the most emotional moment of my life, and I’m sure a good number of my teammates feel the same way. After doing my part on rings, I stepped back into our team’s corral and experienced something I’d never felt before. At that moment each man on our squad was channeling all of his emotions, every single ounce of positive energy he had, into the next man stepping up to perform on the rings. It’s something I won’t try to describe, but that I can feel again and again each time I think of that final rotation. Our competition culminated with amazing routines by our captains, Sho and Bryant.

After Bryant landed his dismount, our emotional outbursts turned into nervous anticipation as we waited to see the final results. The Oklahoma vault team huddled together, knowing they would need a big performance to catch up.

Just then Eli, Chris, and Dave yelled out to us from the audience: “YOU DID IT!” I turned around to see Sho tearing up. That moment I will remember forever.

Mission accomplished.

While I was able to relax for a couple of weeks after NCAAs, I realize that it’s time to get back to the grind. With NCAA competitions now over, my focus has switched to competing internationally as a member of the US National Team.  Next week, I leave for a training camp at the US Olympic Training Center.  It’ll be an important camp because the five-man team that will represent the US at a competition in Japan will be decided then.  The Japan Cup, as it is called, will be held in July, and 6 of the 8 teams that competed at the Olympics last year will participate.  This will make the Japan Cup an exciting competition for sure!

There is lots to do in the gym but I’m excited for the next step!