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Nedoroscik: ‘I’ve Learned To Trust My Training’
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Following his international debut this spring, U.S. pommel horse specialist Stephen Nedoroscik has made substantial upgrades as he aims for titles at this summer’s World University Games in Naples, this fall’s World Championships in Stuttgart and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The 20-year-old Nedoroscik, a Massachusetts native who is heading into his senior year at Penn State University, placed first on pommel horse at the 2017 and ’18 NCAA Championships, and second on pommel horse at the ’19 NCAA Championships. He was seventh on pommel horse at the ’17 U.S. Championships and ninth on pommel horse at the ’18 U.S. Championships.

Following his victory on pommel horse at the U.S. Winter Cup Challenge in February, Nedoroscik was named to the U.S. national team. He finished sixth on pommel horse at the World Cup of Doha in March, which was his first international start. In April he was named to represent the U.S. at the World University Games in Naples in July.

The ambitious Nedoroscik, who participated in the recent training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, shared his thoughts in this IG Online interview.

IG: With only one international meet behind you, and having completed a long NCAA season, how are you physically and mentally preparing yourself for the challenge of competing at the World University Games?

SN: I am extremely excited for World University Games. I have continued to train just as rigorously as I did during the NCAA season. I’ve managed to escape injury thus far and feel great physically, good enough to upgrade my routine by six tenths. With the progression of my upgrades and consistency of my routines during the season, I feel confident going into the World University Games.

IG: Looking back on Doha, what do you think caused your fall in the final, and what steps have to taken since to avoid it going forward?

SN: During the competition at Doha, I experienced a nervousness I had never felt. Despite the complicated feelings going into competition, I was able to hit a solid routine in the preliminaries, qualifying for finals. Going into finals, I knew I was against the strongest horse competition in the world, but I wasn’t nervous about it. I was excited. I made a mistake during preliminaries on my Russian flop so I focused a lot during warm-ups to correct it. During my competitive routine I executed a phenomenal first half and was certain I’d finish the rest. It was my own confidence that diverted my focus and I accidentally rushed my reverse Roth, resulting in an unrecoverable front loop, and I fell. Since that competition, I’ve warmed up every skill equally. More specifically I’ve learned to trust my training despite how warm-ups feel and to stay focused throughout the routine.

IG: With two NCAA titles, a World Cup final and now World University Games participating to your name, what do you feel you can offer to the U.S. team in Stuttgart and Tokyo?

SN: I believe I can offer the USA a really good shot at the pommel horse title in Stuttgart and Tokyo. Although my international career is extremely young, so was my NCAA career when I won in my freshman year. Besides my gymnastics abilities, a (Penn State) teammate of mine, Samuel Zakutney, labeled me as a teammate that can keep the momentum rolling regardless that I only compete a single event. Whether it’s helping Team USA strive for a pommel horse medal, or it’s cheering and applauding my teammates, I offer Team USA a great teammate to have.

IG: What is your plan for bolstering your pommel horse routine for a better chance to make the U.S. teams for Stuttgart and Tokyo?

SN: Currently I am training a 16.8 start-value routine. I am upgrading to a Mikulak, G-Flop and Bezugo, a total of six tenths added from my previous routine. It has been two weeks of working the routine, and I have already gained consistency in all of my upgrades and even hit a routine last week. I have also been focusing on my swing in general, trying to eliminate any further deductions.

IG: Considering the competition to earn a spot on the U.S. team for Tokyo, what plans do you have for trying to earn an individual spot through participation in the World Cup series?

SN: To further my chances of making it to Tokyo, I must earn points through World Cups this coming year. My plan is to gain consistency with my new routine to increase my chances of winning at these World Cups. If I were to win three World Cups on pommel horse, scoring higher on average than the gymnast from Taipei who already has won three times, then I believe I would guarantee myself an individual spot for Tokyo. For now, my goal is to make the U.S. national team once again, and for that I need consistency and execution. I have goals that may seem improbable, but I trust with these goals in mind, I will pursue my dreams.

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