After an up-and-down season, Moldauer is feeling great and ready to compete! Here’s what he had to say to the media after podium training.
Photo by Grace Chiu
How did it feel out there today?
Good. Honestly, I felt great. The team looked good. I think this is the best podium I’ve been to since I’ve been coming to Worlds.
You had some elbow injuries earlier this year. How are you feeling physically?
Today, I felt really good; I wasn’t tired after my routine. I just wanted to go out there, do a routine, do some extra parts, and we accomplished that.
Have you graduated from school?
No, I still have one more semester.
So your last semester, you’ll graduate in December?
That’s the plan.
Is it helpful to think that you’ll have that final stretch before the Olympics to just focus on gymnastics?
That’s actually what we planned to do. We made it so even if I had to take more classes, maybe put a pause or something…but that next training period, I don’t want to have anything extra. It’s all about what can I do to prepare myself to be ready to hopefully make the team for the Games.
When did you first have the thought that you maybe have a shot to challenge for the Olympics someday?
I don’t know if I ever said, ‘Oh, I can challenge somebody to make it.’ I just knew when I was really young. I think it was 2008 when Sasha Artemev was on the horse and at the time, I was [training] at 5280 Gymnastics and I remember watching on TV. He hit that horse routine and I saw how many times he hit that horse routine or, he would mess up and how frustrated he would be. I remember crying tears of joy and thinking, ‘I want to be on that stage.’ Ever since then, I’ve just been trying to prove myself to how I can be on that stage.
How has your preparation been going for this meet?
It’s been good. I’ve been doing a lot of routines, a lot of halves, and a lot of details. (Coach) Mark (Williams) actually told me that he was proud of how much I was doing because I didn’t look the best at Trials, so I really needed to prove that I was ready. I went back to the gym and Mark and I came up with a plan where I can do a lot but maintain my health. So, I feel really good now.
Was there a reason you weren’t quite up to your top form?
I had a virus and I had a rib out. It’s like kind of sprain, but when you try to breathe it hurts and it’s like a sharp pain. I couldn’t breathe as well and I went to the hospital and they were like, ‘Yeah, you have a virus, just try to sleep it off.’ So, they actually said that I could take Thursday off to compete, but I was like, ‘No, I still want to compete. If I’m sick there I’m going to have to do it.’
How is the team looking to you?
They look great. All these guys are so funny, they’re always joking, but then they’re like your best friend, but in the gym they’re super serious. All this knowledge from different gyms has really helped. I think it’s great. We’re so young but we also have a professional veteran like Sam that can help us and lead us. I think we’re so young and ready. Whatever we do out there, it’s going to be exciting.
Can you talk a little about each guy and what they bring to the team?
Sam [Mikulak] is definitely that leader, that role model. But, he’s actually a really funny guy. Trevor [Howard], he’s kind of like that guy you look at and are like, ‘He’s motivated. He wants it so bad.’ He does everything he can, he walks with his head down and he’s determined. Then Shane [Wiskus], we call him the freshman; he doesn’t know what’s going on. Now he’s my best friend, he’s been by my side every step of the way. He’s like the brother to the team. You can ask him something very serious or you can laugh. And Akash [Modi] is just the brains. He’s from Stanford, he’s really smart. When we all come together we’re like a superstar team that laughs but [we] also compete when we need to.