Paul Ruggeri: Believe
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By: Emily Gillis & the Inside Gymnastics Team
Aside from his stylish gymnastics, Univ. of Illinois gymnast Paul Ruggeri stands out from the crowd with his flashy tattoos... All five of them!
“I started [getting them] almost 5 years ago when I first came to college. I have 3 in Italian meaning different things... I have ‘Brothers’ in Italian on my ribs, ‘Strength’ by my leg in Italian, and now ‘Believe’ in Italian on my foot.” He also has a national championship tattoo under his arm and a Roman numeral III on his back to represent his family. (He’s Paul Ruggeri, III!)
His most recent tattoo, Credere, means “believe” and stands near and dear to his heart. “I put it on my foot because when I step out onto the floor, having confidence is something that really will bring you to the next level when you’re performing. Looking down and seeing ‘believe’ on my foot is something that will bring me the confidence that I have in the gym and when I train.”
Unlike his other ones, this was Ruggeri’s only “spur of the moment” tattoo. In fact, he was on a paddleboat with some teammates when he decided to go out and get it.
Ruggeri laughed and said that although his parents aren’t the biggest fans of his tattoos, he doesn’t regret any of them. In fact, his parents don’t even know about his newest ink yet! “I’m in a position where, if I’m able to hit my potential, I can most definitely pick up one of those last spots, an alternate spot. Regardless, if I don’t, I still will have to believe in myself to achieve my next goal & to know that anything is possible, no matter what I want to do. I’m just putting faith in myself. I really haven’t shown my true colors yet out there on the floor, and I’m hoping that this new, high-intense pressure situation will bring some good things!”
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