What It's Like To Win an Olympic Medal
November 09, 2022
Elizabeth Pearson Garr
Justin Spring went from tumbling around his neighborhood to later winning NCAA gymnastics titles and eventually earning a place on the 2008 Olympic team. The road getting there had its share of twists and turns (pun intended), including a slew of injuries leading up to the Olympics. Justin shares behind-the-scenes stories of his journey, from the lowest moment in his gymnastics career (when he had to army-crawl to his coach's room due to excruciating pain); to the mental techniques he relied on to get his body back into shape; to what life was really like in the Olympic Village. Justin is now a college gymnastics coach (formerly for the University of Illinois men; now for the University of Alabama women). We learn about pressure, expectations, why men's gymnastics is losing popularity (and college teams) in the U.S., and why competing for "perfect 10s" makes women's gymnastics much more entertaining.
In this episode:
- Why gymnastics is such a difficult sport (05:47)
- How gymnastics suited Justin's personality (08:20)
- Thoughts about pursuing the Olympics and gold medals (09:26)
- Justin's many injuries (15:06)
- The importance of mental training in recovery (15:58)
- His journey through injuries to the Olympic Trials (19:30)
- The darkest moment of Justin's career (21:32)
- The underdog story at the 2008 Olympics (25:07)
- What the Olympic experience was like (31:06)
- The state of men’s gymnastics in the US (34:04)
- What's happening in collegiate sports (36:05)
- Thoughts on coaching (41:42)
Want to know more about Justin?
- Follow him on Instagram: springerzz
- Find him on Twitter: @justinspring
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