by Samuel Abbas | sports editor
As Blake Sun steps up to perform his routine on the rings he has only one thing in mind: perfecting his pike hang and sticking his dismount. He has trained for moments like these since he was 3 years old and is ready for any challenge that comes his way.
“Gymnastics is different from other sports because it’s more mental and physical so you really have to focus or else you could get hurt. I’ve always been up for challenges and a sport as physically and mentally draining as gymnastics is a sport that I don’t think I’ll ever lose interest in,” junior Blake Sun said.
Sometimes there’s a time where athletes may want to quit their sport because of the lack of motivation. Motivation is key in sport because it’s what keeps you going and everyone needs some sort of motive keep their drive going.
“The hardest part about a sport like gymnastics I’d say is staying with it and not giving up. Because there are times where it gets pretty hard and you want to quit but you just gotta keep pushing forward,” Sun said.
In other sports, athletes may train the same way everyday and that can be useful until it becomes tiresome of doing the same thing over and over again. Mixing things up and changing the type of training every once in awhile will make the athletes stronger both physically and mentally.
“Gymnastics is something different for sure. It’s not the same thing everyday so it’s unique, and gives me something to do. We always have different routines and exercises to get us going and not become bored with the same thing everyday,” Sun said.
Many if not all athletes desire to compete at the collegiate level in their sport. It takes a lot of time and dedication to reach a goal like this but with some hard work and perseverance, their dream might become a reality.
“It’s definitely a goal of mine to compete in the Olympics in a few years. If I don’t make it to the Olympics, I’ll definitely be competing in college gymnastics. I don’t really know where I want to compete in college but I know for sure that I want to compete in collegiate level gymnastics,” Sun said.
As an athlete, you need a support crew. People who bring you up when you are down and motivators who bring out the best in you. Some supporting may consist of a mixture of family, friends and teammates.
“My dad is my coach so he’s mainly the one besides who keeps pushing me to do my best every time. My friends and teammates have also been supportive of me throughout my gymnastics career. It’s nice having people who support you when you’re competing in a sport as draining as gymnastics,” Sun said.
Gymnastics is not your typical before and after school practice for an hour each way. Gymnast Blake Sun trains approximately 21 hours during the school year and 28 hours during the summer.
“I started gymnastics when I was three years old, so I’ve been in gymnastics for 13 years now. I train at Alamo Gymnastics and my dad trains me. We practice weekdays from 5:30-9:00 and 8:30-12 on Saturday mornings. But in the summer time I train 28 hours a day because we don’t have school,” Sun said.
Individual sports where the pressure is all on one athlete can be very draining both from the mental and physical athletes. Mentally you have to have confidence and always believe in yourself. Physically you need to push your body to its limits and successfully complete your routine.
“Gymnastics is a sport I believe that is like no other. Even though we represent the same team, it is really based on individual performance, so you can’t mess up. The physical and mental toll it takes on you is on another level. Day after day, you need to find motivation within yourself to keep competing and it’s all about pushing yourself to your limits,” Sun said.
Athletes who have intensely trained in sports for most of their lives know how hard it is to walk away from a sport. Some will never give it up simply for the fact that it is their passion in life and love how they feel when they compete in their sports.
“Probably just because I’ve done it all my life. I can’t really imagine not having gymnastics as a part of my life. If I wasn’t doing gymnastics, I don’t know what I would be doing,” Sun said.