London Olympics Inspire Local Gymnasts

Hannah Fitzpatrick displays her excellent leaping ability while performing a gymnastics maneuver at the Winthrop Gymnastics Academy. Other gymnasts (left) watch Fitzpatrick perform the straddle jump

A champion is a symbol of passion. These outstanding personages are driven by unsurpassed motivation and strength, both emotional and physical. Each athlete competing in the London Olympics focuses on their goal with fortitude. They dedicate their lives to achieving greatness in a sport, and they succeed.

“It takes a unique individual to get up on a balance beam, do a skill five feet above it, and land on those four inches,” says Peter Gobiel about Aly Raisman, the 18-year-old, Fab Five United States Team Captain who is a 2012 Olympian gold medalist for the women’s gymnastics team.

Gobiel, Athletics Director for Winthrop High School and Owner of Winthrop Gymnastics Academy (WGA), is devoted to encouraging his students to learn eagerly and become attentive individuals.

The spacious gymnasium of WGA is filled with a maze of padded mats and gymnasts stretching and tumbling on the floor in their brightly-colored leotards. A girl on the balance beam quietly finds her center, and with a focused visage, executes a back handspring. Others swing and circle the uneven bars. Energy circulates the room.

Gymnastics requires incredible strength, control and poise.

“The higher the level you go, the more your mind becomes important,” says Gobiel, “the more you have to exercise your brain and mental imagery.”

Autonomy is a priority at WGA. Connectivity of the mind and body is integral. One must be sensitive to impulses with keen awareness. Attentiveness to one’s specific abilities is important, and so is having fun while you partake in every event.

As a coach, Gobiel wishes to “build the confidence level” of his students – whose ages range from 1-year-old to college age — and make sure their “heads are in the right place.”

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