Jonathan Horton- To Rio and Beyond
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Jonathan Horton: To Rio and Beyond
By Chris Korotky
He’s a two-time U.S. National Champion, an NCAA National Champion (team and all around), Nissen Emery winner, and a World and Olympic medalist. And he may be just beginning. Jonathan Horton aims to make his second Olympic team this month through the U.S. Championships and Trials process to earn his ticket to London 2012. And if all goes according to plan, he won’t be done after that. Rio 2016 is on his radar following his newfound love of the sport.
Ironically, it took an injury that sidelined him from training and competition to help him realize just how much passion for the sport was still within him. Looking down at his surgically repaired foot that still has a titanium screw in it, he reflects: “The worst injury I’ve ever had, but the best thing that’s ever happened. I started to burn out a little bit. I got tired…started taking gymnastics for granted. When it happened, I lost gymnastics for 6 months and couldn’t do anything. Doctors told me if you get up on high bar and just do giants and fall off funny and land on it, you could ruin the surgery. So I literally [just]conditioned; couldn’t do anything. And I got to the point I remembered how much I loved the sport. When something’s taken away from you, it reminds you why you did it. I don’t know if I’d be in the kind of shape I am without the injury.”
So as London looms, Horton plans on making the most of his potential second Olympics and hopes to compete well beyond that. “I’m gonna keep going. I feel like I have too much gas in the tank to be done,” Horton says. “And as long as I can be a contributing force to Team USA, why be finished? Some would say that’s selfish, give someone else a shot. Some would say that’s great, we’re gonna stay a strong team. For me, I wanna do everything that I can. That’s who I am. I consider myself a player for Team USA and I want to make us the best team we can. Until I’m no longer important I guess, I’m gonna keep going! Absolutely, if I could compete in Rio, that’d be great. And shoot, if I feel good after that, I think it’d be insane, but if I can still make World Championship teams and still help out, I’ll keep going. My wife thinks I’m insane, but I’m like, ‘Listen, if you’re going to (medical) school for 37 years, you’re insane!’ One thing I’m not going to do is be the comeback guy. I’m not gonna retire and come back. I’ve seen what happens to other guys, it’s hard on their bodies… injuries happen. I’m gonna keep going until I wake up one morning and I know, ‘I’m done.’”
We look forward to seeing the talented trickster with the engaging personality on the competition floor for many years to come!
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