Kansas City, Missouri 2021-08-04 06:00:33 –
Kansas City, Missouri — As the world’s best gymnasts compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we aim to reach that stage someday for young athletes in Kansas City, Missouri.
From an early age, Jojo Motoki has found comfort in the flipping, twisting and spinning of gymnastics.
When he was five, his parents noticed that he was shaking off a branch and flipping a backyard deck. That’s when they decided to get him some formal training.
“I like how unique gymnastics make me feel,” Motoki said. “I want to know that many people in this world can do what they can’t do. The feeling of flying, the whole body consciousness-it’s very personal to me.”
Motoki and his family lived in New Jersey when he first started training and worked with a coach named Will Sanders.
“Jojo had a very good natural ability with flexibility, posture and style,” Sanders said. “Jojo is the type of kid that coaches love to interact with, because when you give them a fix, it usually happens the next turn. It’s rarer than it doesn’t.”
A few years later, Sanders moved to Kansas City to coach at the Mercury Gymnasium. In 2019, Jojo and his father followed.
“I think it’s great for his gymnastics and thinking,” Sanders said.
The spiritual aspect of gymnastics has become a hot topic these days. Simone Biles speaks openly about emotional sacrifice Of the pressure on athletes
“It’s something I’m deeply involved in getting caught up in my head and getting lost in my thoughts in a very stressful situation,” Motoki said.
However, gymnastics also helped him overcome some mental health challenges.
“Growing up, I had a very difficult time mentally,” he said. “And gymnastics has become very therapeutic. I was able to come to the gym, come to practice, leave all the problems at the door and focus on one of the things I really like. . “
His journey was not without setbacks. Before he was fifteen, he underwent three major surgeries: reconstruction of a broken nose, surgery for a fracture of the femur, and more recently surgery to repair a torn lip on the left shoulder.
“It was difficult, to say the least,” said Motoki. “It’s hard to go from 20 to 25 hours of practice a week to zero, not because I wanted to, but because you have to do it. It’s very frustrating. I like the feeling that it’s not. It wasn’t. I have full control over my body. “
However, he found a motive to come back and finished third on the parallel bars at the 2021 National Development Program Championships in May.
“I wasn’t doing the big skills that everyone else is doing, but I stayed true to what I learned, stayed calm, and motivated to stay on the basics.” He said.
It’s that dedication to the consistency he wants to take him far away in gymnastics-potentially at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
“I’m trying to get a scholarship from D-1 School,” he said. “And from there, I want to be able to go to the Olympics in that environment and be a major candidate, not just another athlete.”
Kansas City gymnast aims for future Olympics Source link Kansas City gymnast aims for future Olympics