Justin Spring: All around gymnast?

American Justin Spring, who tore his ACL on vault at the recent U.S. Championships, told International Gymnast Magazine earlier this week that he is on the road to recovery and hopes to use his extra training time to become…an all-around gymnast!

The U.S.'s Justin Spring on one of his better events.

At least, that’s what it seemed like when I first read the article. Sheesh, I thought, given that Spring first made the National team as a junior eight years ago, one would think that he would have been able to accomplish all-around gymnastdom sometime before this date. The second reading made it more clear: Spring is hoping to become a good all-around gymnast.

He doesn’t have far to go. After all, Justin Spring is recognized as an expert on five of the six events. He’s arguably among the best in the world on high bar, parallel bars, floor exercise and vault. His rings are quite passable.

A nice introduction to the abilities of Justin Spring:

Pommel horse, however, is another matter.

I asked a good friend who went to the University of Illinois, where Spring spent four productive years and presently works as an assistant coach, exactly how bad he was on pommel horse. Like Alicia Sacramone on bars bad? Or like Vanessa Atler on bars bad?

“It would be better if he stayed on the pommel horse more often, to put it lightly,” she said. She was, I think, being polite.

In his interview with IG, Spring sounded like he has high hopes of making a full recovery.

“My coach and I took the injury in a positive way,” Spring said Monday. “We are going to use this time to train rings and pommel horse and return to doing the all-around and hopefully better my chances of making the 2008 Olympic team.”

Note that Spring, who hurt himself trying a very difficult double twisting Kasamatsu on vault at the championships, implied that he thought showing one before the selection committee would up his chances of making the World Championships team. He competed only his best five events in San Jose, indicating that he would have been on the Stuttgart team as a specialist had he not been injured.

“The U.S. (men’s) program committee has been pushing to see upgraded vaults for years and I was confident I could do this vault. I competed the Lopez at Pan American Championships and actually posted the high score of the meet on vault. I was ready to compete it at USAs but it was just an off day.”

It goes back to what Rick McCharles was saying on his Gymnastics Coaching blog about athletes attempting more difficult skills getting injured.

Are there more athletes injured out of World Championships than in the past?

I think so.

The demands of 10 counting skills on each routine is too difficult for an all-arounder, I feel. FIG should drop the number of counting skills to eight.

Whether or not training pommel horse would help Spring make the Olympic Team seems questionable, but the more one thinks about it, the more it seems to make sense. The U.S. already has a few good pommel workers in Sasha Artemev, David Durante and the Hamm twins when they hit, but it certainly isn’t their deepest event. If Spring can find a routine that suits him, it would be another in a fairly long list of good reasons to add him to the U.S. team for Beijing.

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2 Responses to “Justin Spring: All around gymnast?”

  1. Justin Spring: Not fully recovered, but training nonetheless « The Gymblog Says:

    […] Less than two months after surgery to repair his torn ACL, Olympic hopeful Justin Spring is back in the […]

  2. On Diego Hypolito and other Injured « The Gymblog Says:

    […] miraculous recoveries in time for the summer Olympics. Also in line: American Justin Spring, who tore his ACL vaulting at the 2007 U.S. Championships, Morgan Hamm, recovering from a torn pectoralis in October, […]

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