To The Beginning of the Rest of My Life

11 Jun shonakamori 16 Comments »

Last week was a huge turning point in my life.  I left St Louis early last week to head to the US National Championships, which served as the first of two qualification meets to make it onto the US Olympic Team.  Unfortunately my competition didn’t go as I had hoped and I fell short of making the cut to get to the final process.  There is no denying that it was disappointing but I can finally say that I did all that I could do to prepare mentally and physically.  I left every ounce of strength and soul I had in me out on the competition floor that day.

I never believed it when retired gymnasts told me that they had to stop training because their bodies just couldn’t handle the beating of training anymore.  It takes a lot of physical stress to be able to prepare and compete at the highest level.  As I was preparing for the US Championships, I finally started to understand this.  From being an all-arounder, I had to cut floor and vault to just focus on 4 events because my knee just couldn’t keep up with the stress anymore.  Sadly, it never fully recovered from the ACL tear a couple of years ago.  Other little injuries started coming up and it was just a constant battle with pain.

Even though I’ve always been the harshest critic to myself, I feel that I can finally give myself a pat on the back and say that I am proud.  When you compete at such a high level, it’s easy to categorize success and failure based on whether you make it all the way to the Olympics or not.  As my old teammate and former national team member has stated, “for every athlete who prevails on the highest stage, many thousands fall short.  Sometimes the difference between them is not a matter of talent or effort.”  It’s a given that the best athletes train hard…we all want “it”.  Sometimes it just depends on the vagaries of time and circumstance.

Every single time I had a major injury that required surgery, I was told that my career would pretty much be over. However, I bounced back and came back stronger each and every time.  When I broke my femur, I came back and competed at an international meet with the senior team.  When I tore my bicep tendon, I came back and earned a position on the squad for the World Championships team.  When I tore my ACL, I came back and made the Pan American Games team.  This time around, all the injuries caught up to me and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  And although I couldn’t realize my biggest dream and join all of my heroes in the Promised Land of the Olympians, I have zero regrets for trying and putting up the fight.  I could’ve thrown in the towel and retired a long time ago but I’m proud of myself for persevering until the end, and the satisfaction of giving it my all is comforting.

Despite how it ended, I would not exchange this experience for anything because I realized that the value was in fact in the journey.  I’ve had some great opportunities – representing the U.S. at various international events and meeting so many amazing people. Many of these people will be my lifelong friends. I have a lot to be grateful for. To those that offered me even a couple words of encouragement, suggested a book to read, supported me mentally/physically throughout this long career – Thank You So Much!

My chapter as a gymnast ends now but here’s to the beginning of the rest of my life!

Thank you again!

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16 Comments on “ To The Beginning of the Rest of My Life ”

  1. Sho Nakamori announces retirement - Full Twist June 12, 2012 at 2:31 am

    […] last weekend. Nakarmori, who failed to make both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams posted a heart felt entry on his blog last night announcing that the chapter of his life as a gymnast is now […]

  2. Chris June 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Loved following you along the process, and have been very inspired by your entries! Congrats on a great career, and good luck on everything in the future!!

  3. Koichi MIZUSHIMA June 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Good job, sho. Let’s take a rest first,at any rate.
    I hope your second life. I am going to call you soon.

  4. Tomoko June 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

    I’m not goot at English, so I don’t know what to say…
    You did your best, didn’t you?
    I think it’s important.
    Best of luck!

  5. AS June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm


    I just wanted to say you’ve been a huge inspiration and role model for me these past few years (although I’m not even a gymnast); for your hard work, maturity, and positive outlook on life, you have my sincerest admiration. I wish you such good luck in your future career. You deserve all the best.

    Thank you so much!

  6. Mutsumi HARADA June 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    You did great job Sho!!
    I know you have had incredible hard struggle of your gymnast life.
    Could I help for your gymnastics When I was assistant coach at Stanford?
    Could I helf for your life?
    Now, I’m really hope your wonderful next life.
    I’m gonna call you soon!

  7. shonakamori June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm


    Thank you so much for all that you have done for me and for the support all these years. You have been a great gymnastics coach and a life coach to me. I hope to visit you and your family soon. Until then, take care!

  8. shonakamori June 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you for your message. Yes, I did try my best and that was all I could give. I’m excited for the next step in life. Hope to meet you someday!

  9. shonakamori June 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for following all this time and I’m glad that my entries were inspiring. Have a great one and best of luck to you too!

  10. shonakamori June 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Hi There,
    I didn’t know that I could be such a figure but thank you for your kind words. I’m glad that I was able to make a positive influence on someone’s life. Your email address says you went to Stanford. Hope to run into you someday!

  11. shonakamori June 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks you Harada-san. You have definitely changed my life and I can’t thank you enough. You have also been a great life coach to me. Hope to visit Japan soon. Please give my regards to your family for me!

  12. kimi June 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    No regrets! You are a great gymnast and an incredible person. Retirement is not so bad and you will have so many resources from your life in the gym that will take you through the new journey. We are all so proud of you and I know your dad has been there beside you the whole way. Remember it’s the journey, not the end result!! Enjoy your new life and keep doing good things for your community.

  13. shonakamori June 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Kimi – You are amazing. Thanks so much for your support all these years. You’re right – it’s the journey. Time for me to give back to the community and do some good. Hope to run into you soon!

  14. Archana R June 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Hello Sho, I admire your having given everything you had towards your goal of the Olympics. Sorry that it fell short in the end but you have been (and will always be) the same amazing athlete and person that many have known you to be. Congrats on all that you have accomplished. It is quite hard when bad luck and injuries come in the way. I’m sure that the decision to retire was not an easy one and it probably took a lot of courage to make such a decision. Your experience is a reminder and inspiration for me (and probably many others) to work hard and keep going no matter how tough the road may be.

  15. Mallory June 29, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I was sorry to hear of your retirement this evening. You gave your all. You have been an inspiration to my sons and they have enjoyed your demos at the various meets this last season.
    They like you even though you are a tough judge (their words). We wish you well in your future endeavors, good luck.

  16. Jody July 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Sho, you are clearly a great person and it has been a privilege to read this blog. Yes, you really are an inspiration, even to someone who’e a different age, different gender, who did her last gymnastics over 35 years ago… but who is also a Stanford grad! Go Cardinal! I know you will do great. Thanks again.

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