Interview With Olympic Gymnast Michael Thomas

A personal interview with Olympic gymnast Michael Thomas where he discusses techniques and disciplines he practiced to become a better gymnast.

Do you have what it takes to be an Olympic gymnast? Michael Toshio Thomas (13) isn't there yet, but he's one step (or jump!) closer to his goal. Michael's biggest success came when he received a 5th place trophy at the 1999 National Gymnastics Championship. He then flipped into second place that same year at the state finals.

When asked what it took to become such an awesome gymnast, he rounded off the following ten steps:

Step One: Be Prepared to Work Hard

"Getting ready for competition takes lots of hard work and dedication. Athletes have to train twice as hard and long as you normally would."

Step Two: Eat Right

Although he admits to liking junk food as much as other kids, Michael always tries to healthy foods when he is training for a big competition.

Step Three: Drink Lots of Water

"I try to stay away from pop all the time, but especially when I'm training," says Michael, who drinks a lot of water daily.

Step Four: Stay in Balance

If Michael works out really hard one day, he tries to relax more the next. Believing it's important to keep all things balanced, he says, "If I eat a chocolate chip cookie, I'll drink milk with it!"

Step Five: Get a Role Model

It's important to have a good role model to look up to. Dominique Dawes is his favorite athlete and heroine.

Step Six: Keep Focused

Have a goal and always stay focused. "My goal is to get to the Olympics. By staying focused and working hard, I know I can do it!" says the state champ.

Step Seven: Don't Give Up

A year ago, Michael was in a bad four-wheeler accident and was severely injured. Rather than give up his dreams, Michael chose to work that much harder by exercising and improving his fitness even before he could compete again.

Step Eight: Ignore Peer Pressure

Because gymnastics has been primarily a "girl" sport, it's difficult when guys make fun of me. Rather than fight with them, Michael tries to ignore them. He even quit gymnastics once because of them, but knew he had to follow his heart.

Step Nine: Stay in Shape

Even when you're in shape, he admits, competition is very difficult. To do your best on the beam or on the floor, exercise and fitness are critical.

Step Ten: Have Fun

The most important thing for Michael to remember is to have fun. "If you don't have fun doing it," Michael says, "you won't do your best and it will show."

Michael believes if he keeps his eye on these ten steps, it will help him keep a gold Olympic medal in his hands.

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