The 10th Wheel Gymnastics Championship, which took place at North Park University on July 9-12, showed the U.S. for the first time what wheel gymnastics is all about. Contestants from Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, the U.S., Mexico, Venezuela and many more took part in the contest. The U.S. team took home three bronze medals for three disciplines: junior boy vault, junior boy spiral and mono wheel ladies.
“I am so happy that I can take home some hardware (laughs). I met a lot of friends,” said Jack Gomberg from Lincoln Park, who won the bronze in the junior category for vault and spiral.
A brand new competitor to the Wheel Gymnastics Championship this year was Christopher Torres from Venezuela. Torres made his first wheel out of iron and rubber six years ago after watching videos on YouTube about wheel gymnastics. “I feel happy because I am the only one from my country. I do not have a coach and I trained by myself,” said Torres, who is thankful to his family for the support and for helping him buy his ticket to the U.S.
“This is the first time the championship has been outside of Europe,” said Evan Brown, president of the U.S. Wheel Gymnastics Federation. “We want to help train and gain more certified coaches and athletes in the U.S. and continue our championships.”
Wolfgang Bientzle, who trained the U.S. team in the championship, is happy with the way the team did and is optimistic about the future of the sport in the U.S. “They presented well. Coaching the team can be tricky – a big country and a young sport. Time will show,” said Wolfgang.
This post is also available in: Spanish