Going for Gymnastics Gold
1. How did you get started in gymnastics?

When I was 6, I saw a movie about gymnastics called "American Anthem". The movie starred Mitch Gaylord, who was the Olympic team champion in 1984. I absolutely loved the movie and was inspired to try gymnastics. At the time, I was playing baseball but then my coach told me to do gymnastics because it would be good for my pitching arm. By the time I was 12, I decided to dedicate my life to gymnastics and began to homeschool when training really kicked in.

2. What motivates you to train hard?

Gymnastics is an interesting sport because there is always something new you can learn, such as a skill or technique. Even when you master a certain skill, you still make mistakes, so every turn is a shot at trying to be perfect. One of my biggest goals is to be part of a Gold medal team at the Olympics. To get there, it's about never being satisfied...and perfecting everything you do whether it's a fun skill (I enjoy doing Arabian double layouts) or a difficult one. 

3. Describe something that is very important to you.

I am very patriotic and have a deep appreciation for those who serve for our country and our freedom. I was actually given an American flag by my friend Josh, who was a veteran and served in Iraq. He carried that flag during his entire tour there and passed it along to me for motivation and good luck in Rio. It's a very special gift that I'll never forget. 

4. What's your daily training routine like?

Depending on the time of year, we have morning workouts starting at 6AM. It usually lasts an hour and we do our strength circuits. After that, I come home, make breakfast and do some things around the house. Later, I head back for another workout that usually lasts between 3-5 hours. Then it's dinner time and I get to relax with my wife and dogs. During training, my life is based around gymnastics, recovery, nutrition, and sleep.

5. What's after Rio?

After Rio, we go on a 3 month post-Olympic tour with the whole Olympic team and a few other teammates as well. We travel across the United States and put on a show so our fans can celebrate with us. It's much more laid back than during competitions and we do really cool gymnastics. Then it's back to training for the next year's competitions.

6. What message would you tell young athletes who aspire to compete in the Olympics one day?

My advice would be to never give up on your goals. No matter what challenges you come across in sports or life, if you really want to succeed, you have to keep pushing forward. There was a time when I wanted to quit gymnastics. I just started college and I was struggling because it was very structured and very difficult. Our coach planned it out like this on purpose so that we would be ready for season. I never experienced anything like that and I couldn't even make my normal routines. I thought I was getting worse! Seeing that I was discouraged, my teammate Steve sat me down and explained how we have to push through this process in order to come out better in the end. I listened to his advice and found out that it was the best thing I ever did in training. 

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