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StickItMedia Exclusive Interview: Sho Nakamori

Posted on 10 June 2009 by admin

Sho Nakamori is a hard-working, cerebral member of the men’s gymnastics community.  Not only is he an eight time All-American and member of the U.S. Senior National Team, he is also a CGA National Academic All-American.  Nakamori just completed his undergraduate career by earning degrees in International Relations and Japanese Studies.  His recent tweet on Twitter said it all – "snakamori done with school. now, focus=gymnastics."

Now that his studying days are over, for the time being at least, Nakamori is focused like a laser beam to earn a position on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Gymnastic Team.  The 2009 season was special for Nakamori, as he chose to return for his remaining year of eligibility in order to help his team win a well-deserved NCAA team championship, the program’s fourth men’s gymnastics title.  He ended up earning All-American honors on floor, parallel bars and high bar.  An accomplished all-arounder, he chose to forgo a shot at the all-around title by not competing on vault.  He took one for the team.

Focused on making the 2012 team, Nakamori recently launched a great new blog that will chronicle his journey.  The blog entries, we must add, are very well written.  He now has the luxury to concentrate solely on gymnastics, after a grueling academic career at such a challenging institution as Stanford.  He will continue to train at Stanford under the tutelage of 2009 National Coach of the Year, Thom Glielmi.  Nakamori is very happy to remain at his "home" away from home, especially since it will mean that he will remain in close proximity to his mother and sister.

Things are setting up nicely for Nakamori.  The first step is for him to compete at VISAs in August, with high hopes to qualify for the World Championships in October.  He’s done all that before.  Thereafter, the sky is the limit.

StickItMedia had the recent pleasure of interviewing Sho Nakamori.

SIM:  Explain the circumstances that enabled Stanford to peak at the right time to win the MPSF and NCAA Championships.

Sho:  Throughout the entire year we made sure that winning at conference and NCAAs was our main goal.  With that said, we used most of our dual meets as practice for adding new skills and challenging new routines.  If you noticed, we didn’t do all so well in the beginning but as time passed, we started to figure out which skills were a good fit to our routine and which weren’t.  The ones that didn’t work, we just took them out in order to be more consistent.  That was our biggest thing, we kept pushing our difficulties and we didn’t settle until towards the end of the season.

SIM:  You were a student athlete at Stanford for five years.  Who are some of the Stanford student athletes with whom you’ve become good friends?

Sho:  I actually lived in a fraternity on campus where most of the guys that lived there were athletes.  Most of the crew, soccer, volleyball, water polo team lived there so we got to know each other pretty well.

SIM:  If you were king, what reforms would you enact to save NCAA men’s gymnastics?

Sho:  In general, making sure that there would be more funding for NCAA gymnastics.  With more funding, I would want to see more schools with gymnastics programs all across the country.

SIM:  What would you like to see happen to increase the popularity of men’s gymnastics?

Sho:  Somehow to make people understand how great it is to be a gymnast.  It’s not only a great sport because it makes you a great athlete, but it trains your mind as well and it is a great way to build confidence because you perform in front of large crowds all the time.

SIM:  Do you plan to compete before VISAs in August?

Sho:  The Japan Cup in July.  Aside from that, I don’t think so.

SIM:  What new skills are you working on right now?

Sho:  Right now, just increasing my strength and endurance.  I don’t think that I will be making any major changes between now and VISAs.

SIM:  What are your goals between now and VISAs?

Sho:  Just to gain consistency.  More numbers = more consistency.

SIM:  What short-term goals have you set to enable you to achieve your long-term goal of making the 2012 Olympic Team?

Sho:  My short-term/daily goal is always to accomplish or learn at least one new thing in the gym every day, whether that be a new technique or a new understanding of a skill.  When you add up all the days, that’s a lot of new things learned.

SIM:  Tell us about your job as a Japanese tutor.

Sho:  I’ve been a Japanese tutor for American kids, as well as an English tutor for Japanese people in the Stanford area.  This has been the perfect job as I am bilingual.  I’ve been doing this for about 5 years now.  It’s a great way to meet new people in and around the university and it’s nice knowing that I can be of help to Japanese people struggling with English and American kids interested in learning Japanese.

SIM:  How long have you been a gymnastics judge, and what inspired you to become one?

Sho:  I’ve been a judge for about 5 years now.  At first I wanted to get a better understanding of the rules.  Later on, I realized that it’s a good way to give back to the community as the gym community has done so much for me while I was growing up.

SIM:  What advice would you give a young club gymnast?

Sho:  To never give up if you decide to do something.  Nothing worthwhile comes easy.  There are always going to be struggles along the way but with a positive attitude it is possible to overcome it.  Plus, the difficult times make the happy times so much better.

SIM:  What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Sho:  Same as above, and to appreciate what I have and not take anything for granted.

SIM:  What are your proudest gymnastics and non-gymnastics achievements?

Sho:  Winning the NCAA Team Championship and learning that I got into Stanford.

SIM:  After your gymnastics career is over, what would you like to do next?

Sho:  I would like to use my ability to speak Japanese and do some international business relating to Japan.  Possibly an international trade business.

SIM:  Tell us one thing about yourself that none of your gym fans know.

Sho:  I really like to cook.

SIM:  What is your favorite thing about walking into the gym each day?

Sho:  Knowing that I have the privilege of being an athlete in one of the best sports out there.

RELATED STORIES:

Sho Time with Sho Nakamori’s New Blog

Stanford Wins 2009 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Title

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