By Anna Rose Johnson
2017 U.S. Championships high bar silver medalist Colin Van Wicklen is gearing up for his best season yet! A former NCAA team champion with the Oklahoma Sooners and numerous other accolades to his name, Van Wicklen is ready to take his elite career to the next level as he chases his World and Olympic dreams. Last weekend in Colorado Springs, Van Wicklen dominated the field at the 2018 Men’s National Qualifier, scoring an 83.650 and successfully stamping his ticket to the U.S. Championships in August. We recently caught up with him to discuss his current training, future competitions and more!
Feature Photo by Grace Chiu
Inside Gymnastics: What did it feel like to win the National Qualifier?
Colin Van Wicklen: It was a great feeling! After getting injured at the 2017 Winter Cup Challenge and not being selected back on national team, I was super motivated and more hungry than ever. It felt awesome to see the hard work pay off and make a statement that I’m back and better than ever.
Inside: How’s your training going?
Colin: Training is going great. I’m working very hard on my consistency and showing that I am a guy the national team can count on in the big moments. I’m excited about using the next few weeks to work on details and continuing to prepare to the best of my ability.
Inside: What’s your favorite part about training at Cypress Gymnastics?
Colin:Walking in the gym every day and seeing two giant posters of Chris Brooks and Jonathon Horton… [They] were my childhood role models, and it’s inspiring to follow in their footsteps. Every day I look at those posters, I tell myself that one day I’ll be up there.
Inside: Are you currently working on any new skills?
Colin: I’m always training new skills and working upgrades to compete with the best gymnasts in the country and the world. However, since U.S. Championships is right around the corner, my main focus is on perfecting my skills in my routines. I’m a firm believer that consistent gymnastics will win medals and championships.
Inside: What are your favorite skills to compete?
Colin:I love competing my double pike half out on floor. It’s such a unique skill that not many people in the world do. I also love competing my high-flying releases on high bar and hearing the crowd get into my routine.
Inside: How will you approach your training this season as you gear up for Nationals and possibly Worlds?
Colin: Training every day with intensity. The motto for me is always the same. First one in, last one out… and trusting that the hard work will pay off in the end.
Inside: Is Doha 2018 on your short-term bucket list?
Colin: Absolutely! I was an alternate for the 2017 World Championships team, and I absolutely want to put myself in a position to be considered for [this] Worlds team.
Inside: Are you looking toward Tokyo 2020? Could you tell us a little about that?
Colin: Competing at the Olympics isn’t just a goal, but a lifelong dream of mine. Just the idea of competing on an Olympic team keeps me up at night and wakes me up in the morning. I think about Tokyo every single day of my life.
Inside: What are some of your other long-term gymnastics goals?
Colin: Competing for the USA in international competitions—whether it’s an Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup or any other competition. I want more than anything to represent the United States of America in the sport that I have fallen in love with.
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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: https://annarosejohnson.contently.com.