USAG Gymnastics Grass Roots : Alive and Thriving
Men's Gymnastics has been out of the spotlight since the Greek Olympics in 2004 when Paul Hamm won the 1st All around Men's title for the United States. Men's college gymnastics programs are slowly being cut or turned into self-supporting club teams through a Gym Act program, a self-supporting non-scholarship college gymnastics program. None of these events have discouraged the youth USAG men's programs in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.
On May 14th, the USAG kicked off its level 8, 9, and 10 Men's Developmental Championships in Mesa, AZ, and they did not disappoint. One of the local gyms in Hanover Park, IL, Gymkhana, had ten kids qualify for this prestigious meet and earned respected awards.
To quote Olympic High Bar Silver medalist Justin Spring and U of I head coach, "Gymnastics is the hardest sport out there; it's a sport of perfection that you can never obtain."
After years of training and conditioning, you have to prepare yourself mentally to go out to a competition thousands of miles from home, do your personal best, and find out you lost because someone else did 1/10 better. It can be devastating, but these boys become men of character and good sportsmen in the process.
Gymkhana Gymnastics has quietly been growing its men's gymnastics program under the eyes of 3 coaches, Alex Kadar, John Karmecy, and Lefgenii Bogonosiuk (2004 Ukrainian Olympian). They took their 10 Athletes to Mesa, AZ, and had some great successes.
Level 9 Elite gymnastics team of 3 boys K.J Richardson of St Charles, Kody Tokunaga, and William Sperling of Palatine took home 2nd Place out of 16 elite squads, some of which had ten gymnasts. Devin Gopaul Level 10 took home 6th place in the Nation. Sasha Bogonsiuk took home 5th for Elite Level 10, Kody Tokunaga 6th place Elite level 9, K.J Richardson 2nd Place Elite level 9 and is now a Level 9 National Team Member, where he now can be called up by the USAG to compete in international meets
USAG Gymnastics is the road to the Olympics and College Gymnastics; it seems we have a few all-stars here in our own backyard.