Currently in Mexico to compete in the Pan American Championships, U.S. gymnast Glen Ishino gave IG his thoughts on his rising gymnastics profile.
Ishino finished sixth all-around at last month's Visa (U.S.) Championships in Hartford, which was a one-rank improvement from his results in the 2009 competition. As a junior gymnast, he finished second all-around in the 16-18 age group at the 2007 U.S. championships; and first all-around and first on four events in the 16-18 age group at the 2008 U.S. Championships.
Born May 10, 1990, in Santa Ana, Calif., Ishino competes for the Univ. of California–Berkeley, where he will be a junior this fall. His older sister, Allyse Ishino, was an alternate on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and then competed for Stanford University.
Ishino was featured in the Aug. 23 issue of "Sports Illustrated." The photo of Ishino's hands gripping the rings ran on a two-page spread in the "Leading Off" photo gallery in the front of the magazine.
This week Ishino is competing at the Pan American Championships in Guadalajara. He placed second all-around and first with the U.S. team at the 2007 Junior Pan American Championships in Guatemala City.
In this IG Online interview, Ishino details his plans to continue his rise in the gymnastics rankings, in the U.S. and abroad.
Glen Ishino (U.S.)
IG: Your results in Hartford were one position better than last year, but are significant in terms of your potential for upcoming international events. To what do you attribute your results in Hartford, and overall improvement since 2009?
GI: I think that having a setback like hurting my back early on in the year made me work twice as hard to catch up. I actually would have liked to progress further as a gymnast this year, but due to my back injury, perfecting my current skills became my main goal rather than learning new
ones. It's a definite honor to be a national team member, and it feels great to be considered for major international meets.
IG: What was your reaction to the photo spread in Sports Illustrated? What effect, if any, has that exposure had on your confidence level?
GI: I actually have not seen that edition of Sports Illustrated, but I plan on purchasing a copy when I have the chance. It's really nice to be recognized in such a major magazine. As far as confidence goes, I can't say it has changed much because I think the thing that gives me the most confidence is my ability and skill level. Regardless, it is a huge honor, and I am flattered to have been featured.
IG: How has it been having Tim McNeill as a coach, whereas he was a former Cal teammate? What do you think Tim offers you a coach that perhaps an older coach cannot offer?
GI: Tim has been a great coach. We had him as our assistant coach in my freshman year, so it isn't a huge stretch. However, now with his as head coach, I begin to really appreciate how invested he is in each individual team member, as well as the Cal team as a whole. Tim's school pride is obvious, and it is perfect for him be leading us towards our goal of an NCAA title. The fact that Tim is younger and still competing is pretty refreshing to have in a coach. He understands our difficulties and is able to push us without being overbearing.
IG: What advice has your sister given you, relating to your preparations for the 2012 Olympics?
GI: Allyse has always been very supportive of me in my life, inside and outside of gymnastics. She has always taught me to persevere and work hard for everything I want without losing perspective.
IG: What are the key aspects of your gymnastics on which you plan to focus?
GI: I plan on just maintaining my endurance and concentrating on details of my routines. My style is more aggressive, which requires a certain degree of control, so that's what I plan to focus on.
IG: You list a unique hobby, modifying airsoft guns. Can you relate it to gymnastics at all, or is it a complete departure for you?
GI: Modifying airsoft guns was a hobby of mine a while ago. I think it was just fun to make them and shoot targets when I was a kid. There was less pressure back then, so I don't think I used it as an escape mechanism. As far as hobbies go now, I enjoy biking, outdoor activities and sleeping. They seem like my escape nowadays.