Meet Spotlight: Winter Cup Challenge 2015 Take-Away
Posted: Feb 23 2015
With the 2015 Winter Cup Challenge and a lot of great gymnastics coming to an end this weekend, it is clear that men’s gymnastics at the collegiate level continues to be a pivotal stepping-stone in developing national team members. In the past decade over 75% of the gymnasts that made up the US national team were current or former NCAA athletes. Looking at the scores and the start values from this weekend this trend looks set to continue and therefore one of the main reasons we need to continue to support NCAA men’s gymnastics.
It is a well known fact that male gymnasts peak later in their career compared to their female counterparts. A prime example of this fact is Kohei Uchimura, who undoubtedly is the greatest gymnast of all time. Uchimura’s breakout year came in 2008 at the age of 19, making his Olympic debut. In the US we need look no further than recent graduates Paul Ruggeri (Illinois), Sam Mikulak (Michigan), and Oklahoma alums Chris Brooks and Steven Legendre, all of whom are in their 20’s and in the peak time of their careers and used the NCAA platform to better their ability.
NCAA programs offer the opportunity of developing as an athlete and have the support, coaching, and facilities required to reach the peak of the sport - resources that a local club may not be able to offer. In addition, an NCAA program teaches the athlete leadership, camaraderie, and sportsmanship, experiencing intense competition, travel, and being a team member.
Supporting your favorite gymnast or NCAA men’s team is awesome as without these programs, the popularity of men’s gymnastics in the US will decrease even more rapidly. With the number of NCAA programs down to 17, we applaud club teams like Arizona State, U. of Washington and the newly formed So-Cal United for providing extended opportunities for gymnasts to continue to develop their careers and fulfill their aspirations.
If you are a young gymnast considering continuing your career in gymnastics, you should really consider the college route. The facts are there, who knows, you could find yourself on the next Olympic gold medal team, but you most definitely will discover your friends for life.
Congratulations to the newly added members of the US Senior national team and good luck with the rest of the season!
- Team Turn