Aleksas Trotter, 1986-2008

Aleksas TrotterThis morning came the news that montagemaker, blogger and photographer Aleksas Trotter died unexpectedly in Madison, Wis. on April 19.

He was 21.

His obituary was published in The Journal Times of Racine County, in southeastern Wisconsin.

As a gymnast, Lex was a two-time Wisconsin state champion who went to Penn State briefly before returning home after a shoulder injury to attend Marquette University.

Lex made montages and webpages and photographed some of the best American gymnasts of his generation. The gymnasts he loved most were the ones who brought something extra to the competition floor in terms of personality, spirit and choreography — Yvonne Tousek, Tabitha Yim, Terin Humphrey, Allyse Ishino, Shantessa Pama and Chellsie Memmel.

He also had a supreme sensitivity to the not-so-wonderful stories that gymnastics sometimes produces.

Sad Atler (on Vanessa Atler):

Cemetary Drive:

There are many who make gymnastics montages. But Lex was one of the first, and his are some of the best.

“Feeling has its prerequisites and demands, all which force you into no other place but the present, yet remind you of everything that is behind you. Gymnastics is interpretational. It isn’t for the intellects, who don’t realize they often think themselves out of the very experiences they are witnessing with their theories, doctrines, and formulas which seem to point to one final answer,” he wrote in an 2007 essay titled “Why I Like Gymnastics.”

“For gymnastics is a primitive art, recalled by time. It is a sport that honors dualism – two opposing forces acting against each other) in the most harmonious of ways….The more avante-garde routines, like those of the great Svetlana Boguinskaya and Canadian Yvonne Tousek, depict a struggle, or a fight, or a celebration where it seems only our unconscious mind can fully understand.”

I can’t think of any better way to honor him on this blog than to post some of his montages and clips of his favorite gymnasts. R.I.P., Aleksas.

Yvonne Tousek, 1996 USA vs. the World, Floor Exercise:

Terin Humphrey, 2002 Gymnix, Floor Exercise:

Tabitha Yim, 2004 Olympic Trials Day Two, Floor Exercise:

Allyse Ishino, 2008 Stanford vs. UCLA, Floor Exercise:

Taj Mahal Dance Montage:

My personal favorite, “Destiny,” is about those who were in contention to make the 2003 World Championship team.

Lex’s youtube channel is Gymkingdiesel, where his montages, favorite performances (and much rare footage) can be found. His blog is at

Related posts:
The montagemaker returns
Gymnastics History — in montage form
New Youtube Page from Aleksas Trotter

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21 Responses to “Aleksas Trotter, 1986-2008”

  1. Katrina Says:

    woah!!! What happened?!!

  2. Gymnastics Coaching » Blog Archive » gymnastics montagemaker Aleksas dead at 21 Says:

    […] Aleksas Trotter, 1986-2008 – Gymblog […]

  3. kassiane Says:

    Oh how sad…any idea what happened?

  4. Cal Says:

    Lex took his own life last weekend. I went to middle/highschool with him and flew back from FL to attend the funeral, very sad but the church was packed to celebrate Lex’s life.

  5. Patricia Says:

    “Lex’s” last montage is just a continuation of Aleksas’s brilliance. I never had an interest in gymnastics until I viewed his montages. I can not put into words why and how much his passing has and will affect me. I am in tears as I post this comment, I just hope Aleksas knew how much of a contribution he made in the short time he was in the world, everyone can not have that credited to their lives. I knew him through his accomplishments; those haunting eyes of his will never be forgotten as his dedication to his obsession with gymnastics. For those of you who could or should have realized how special this young man was and for whatever reason did not let him know, there will be forever a void for not getting this right. I have watched all of his work and it is not without tears every time for the loss we will all have to endure. His personal montages revealed how much he gave and how much he could care for someone. I just pray he felt some love before he left. I wish I had a chance to have met you.
    RIP Aleksas

  6. TCO Says:

    Was he gay?

  7. TME Says:

    I am so devestated. Like, I can’t even eat. I’m going to miss talking to him so much. He was like my twin. We’d always be like, “Twins! Ahhh!” From the argyle socks, favorite gymnastics routines to the views on existentialism, I knew him so well. Now it feels like a piece of my heart is gone.

    Does anyone have his essay, “Why I Like Gymnastics”? His website was shut down recently.

    Rest in Peace, Aleksas.
    You will always be in my heart, though it will forever long for your beautiful spirit.


  8. Sean Says:

    Yes..Aleksas was gay and I it’s not my place to say how he passed away… but I’m sure if you talk to someone you would know how. If you would like to know more about him..his myspace (which hasn’t been updated since his deat, obviously) is right here…

  9. AEC Says:

    Why does it matter what his sexual orientation is? He was an awesome person with many great talents. His memory will live on forever….soar Lex.

  10. TCO Says:

    It doesn’t matter. Sorry.

  11. BEA Says:

    You are correct it doesn’t matter what his sexual orientation was, but the bigger issue is why he felt life was not worth living….

    Was there a problem in his love life or family life? I met him before and he seemed like a great person – I would like to know why? Not because I am nosy but because my heart breaks at a young life getting this desperate and not having a way out besides DEATH.

  12. JK Says:

    So sad, and to think someone has to ask his orientation. Shame on you. RIP

  13. FLYHIGH Says:

    Lex is my brother. We were just a few years apart; I love him dearly. I do not want to get into details but know that many wonder what happened to him. Lex suffered a great deal of pain throughout his life; pain that could not be healed. Just know that he is so happy now and smiling…and the smiles are real this time. I am happy to read and hear the wonderful memories that you have made with my brother…he was truly an amazing, creative, and beautiful person that I and you will never come across again. Keep your memories of him alive through thoughts, his montages, and his website (which is back up and will forever be). I will miss him dearly but I know that he is free now. I tell him to fly high…because that’s what I see him doing.

  14. seethesun08 Says:

    Thank you for your message Flyhigh. I think many people in the gymnastics world knew that Lex had suffered pain in his life but we all felt that he was doing ok in the last little while. News of his passing came as such a shock to most everyone. He was an extremely talented man. I am very sorry for your loss but I am glad that he is free and you just know he is loving being able to fly high. My thoughts are with your family.

  15. Megan Says:

    I’m going to miss Aleksas. His presence could be felt all over the Internet, in his montages, his photography, and his writing. I saw his name in a book dedication once. He’s touched many lives, and the world just won’t be the same without him. My condolences to his family.

  16. Justypants Says:

    God bless Lexylumps, man I am going to miss you

  17. Steven Arnold Says:

    We just received the news of Lex’s passing this morning from our daughter Carrie (Lujan) Vallejo. We are deeply saddened by Lex’s passing and share the condolences of many. My wife Susan and I had the pleasure of sharing a day at Disneyland with Lex and Carrie during the Olympic Trials in Los Angeles a few years ago. Lex was loved by many, as he touched so many people through his montages and writings. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep after receiving the news about Lex. His passing brings all to close to home that our time with friends, families, and loved ones may be short. My condolences to his family and friends.

  18. anonymous Says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son, brother, friend.. I have learned through experience that some of the most creative minds struggle with depression- your son’s life, gymnastics, and media arts are an inspiration to me.. thank you for sharing his life for us.. peace, Love, and God bless..

  19. Eliyyahu Says:

    omg. how devastating. besides sharing his admiration for gymnastics, his charisma and colorful vigor was what made aleksas stand out and so refreshing.

  20. expennaAbnony Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, watch south park online

  21. remembering Aleksas Trotter — Gymnastics Says:

    […] Blythe Lawrence of Gymblog posed a touching tribute. […]

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