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Featured Athlete

Liam Madsen

* Liam joined the Gymnastics Unlimited club in the spring of 2014 when he was 9 years old. He wanted to give "gymnastics" a try and, from the start, noticed he really liked it! The coaches extended an invitation for him to go ahead and "join the team." When he had his orientation, one of the first questions he asked was "can I start at level 5?" (Level 4 being the usual first competition level) and his coaches noted "if you earn it."

Well, Liam turned out to be a natural and had the ability to "earn it" and entered his first competition year as a Level 5 boys gymnast (Age Group: 9-10 year-olds; he became 9 in November). He thrived. In his very first meet, the Ryan Keller New Level meet in Golden, CO, Liam was disappointed he did not earn any awards! This changed in his next meet, the Junior Rocky Mountain Open held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs: in a field of 49 competitors, Liam earned 3 medals: 8th place in Rings, 11th place in P-Bar, and 17th All-Around. The experience of earning awards greatly encouraged Liam to practice hard and hone his skills.

The next meet Liam participated in was the Stiletto Meet in Boulder, a great fun time for the coaches and the boys as everyone marches into the meet "in costume." Liam earned a Third Place Trophy (All-Around Awards only) but had great individual events. In a field of 14, Liam placed 1st in Floor, 1st in Rings, and 3rd in Mushroom/Pommel. Liam finished his first competitive season by qualifiying (and doing well) in both the State & Regional Competitions! In the State Meet, Liam earned 4 event medals and placed 13th All-Around in a field of 56 participants. In the Regional competition, Liam earned 2 event medals and placed 16th All-Around in a field of 40 participants.

It should be noted that the Gymnastics Unlimited Staff deserve great praise, especially Liam's*
Coaches in his first and second seasons: Michael Pinter and Chris Hughes, skilled and patient in guiding all the gymnasts to achieve their potential by pushing them "just enough" to rise to their talent level while not burning them out. The "firm but friendly" style that Michael and Chris applied set a great stage for learning the complex gymnastic skill set required for mastering events. Firm: set and enforced rules because if you fool around in gymnastics you could really hurt yourself. Friendly: in an atmosphere of mutual respect between coaches and athletes a good time can be had even while working hard.

For a 1st season, Liam had a wonderful experience! Better yet, it set the stage for an even better season in his second year. After finishing a full competition year, Liam committed to practice hard and continued to push himself and his abilities to see what he could do. His coaches, noticing his effort and ability, promoted him to "Level 6" to give him a try at more difficult routines. Liam rose to the occasion and found himself both willing and able to meet the new demands.

Liam started his second season with a bang: he took 2nd All-Around at the Ryan Keller New Level Meet and earned a trophy! His next meet, the Men's Invitational at the 5280 Gymnastics North Club, Liam earned 3 event ribbons (8th place or higher in a field of 24 competitors) and an All- Around medal (places 1,2,3 earned trophies; 4-12 medals; Liam was 9th AA). The next meet was the Junior Rocky Mountain Open held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Liam had an inspired perform-ance and took home his very first "First Place, All Around" medal in a field of 36 compet-itors. Liam's performance along with his Level 6 Teammates helped the Gymnastics Unlimited Club earn the 3rd place team trophy in a field of 20 teams. It was a great moment for Liam getting his name called last and ascending to the number one spot on the medal platform (pictured).

Liam had 3 personal best event scores (Floor 10.4, Rings 9.9 & P-Bar 10.6), earned 5 of 6 possible event medals (Floor 4th, Pommel 3rd, Rings 4th, P-Bars 2nd & H-Bar 1st) and the all-around first place medal with his season-high all-around combined score of 59.3. The exhilarating experience at JRMO cemented Liam's love of gymnastics competition and his commitment to always try his best.

The rest of Liam's Level 6 season continued to yield great results. At his next meet, the

2016 Junior Rocky Mountain Open, Level 6, Age Group: 9-10
( Meet Scores ) & Liam's P-Bar & H-Bar Routines (Vimeo Video Hosting Service)

The 2016 Level 6 Boys Gymnastics Unlimited Team
( Coaches Michael Pinter & Chris Hughes at each end )

Gymnastics Unlimited Home Meet, he earned event ribbons in all events and earned another 1st place all-around medal. The final meet of the season (before State & Regionals) was at the Olympic Training Center and Liam earned 3 medals: Floor 7th, P-Bars 6th & All-Around 11th in a field of 51 competitors.

As Liam ended his regular season well, he qualified for the State Competition and he continued his wonderful Level 6 year. At State, Liam earned medals in all but "Vault" - in a field of 27 competitors, Liam placed as follows: Floor 8th, Pommel 9th, Rings 8th, P-Bars 9th, H-Bar 8th & 8th All-Around. His State meet qualified him for Regional competition and he finished in style: 3 medals in a field of 43 competitors; Pommel 7th, Rings 9th & All-Around 16th. Level 6 turned out to be Liam's best season so far. Liam's gymnastics progress and ability continued to grow thus, as he finished his Level 6 year, he received his "Coach's Recommendation Letter" to be promoted to Level 7 for the 2016-17 Season.

* A quick background note before getting in to Liam's Level 7 year: Liam has a wonderfully supportive family rallying behind his pursuits and this is helpful for any athlete (a cheering section!) in competitive sports. Liam is one of four Madsen children: he has an older sister (Loreena) and brother (Erik) as well as a younger sister (Glenna) pictured with him at left. Along with his parents, one or all of his siblings try to attend his meets and cheer him on. It is also the source of fun adventures when Liam has out-of-state meets or travel to distant Colorado locations. The whole family (when possible) packs up and enjoys the road trips especially.

Advancing to Level 7 gymnastics turned out to be a challenging (but still enjoyable) competition year for Liam. Arriving at this level he found the competition groups were smaller (fewer boys advance to the upper levels) and more competitive. Once again, Liam participated in the Ryan Keller New Level Meet and earned a 2nd place trophy in a field of 5 competitors. His next meet was at his favorite competition location: The Junior Rocky Mountain Open at the Air Force Academy but this time his competition group had only 9 competitors so placing first or second were the only ones granted medals. Liam earned one medal this time, 2nd in floor. His next meet was the GU Home meet, the competition group was 8 but Liam did very well. He earned 4 event ribbons (3rd place or above) and tied for 1st All Around earning a medal.

The highlight of Liam's season happened at his next meet at the Kinetic Gymnastcis Club. There were only 4 competitors but Liam placed 1st in EVERY event!
Coming home with 6 1st place event medals and a 7th (larger) all-around 1st place medal was a pretty fun moment. To get an idea of Liam's skill set at Level 7, his dad took video of his next meet (another favorite place), Stiletto in Boulder, CO and his mom Lauryn (who is skilled in editing video) condensed the 3 hour meet to 4 competition minutes... Liam earned the 2nd place trophy but missed 1st place by 1/10th point! ( Meet Scores ) Liam finished his Level 7 regular season by having a truly new competition experience, he travelled to the Sun Devil Classic meet in Arizona and, unlike his other meets, this one had a different "warm-up / compete" pattern that rather threw off his routine. Unlike the standard "warm up time before event, then compete, the Sun Devil Classic had one "warm up time" BEFORE the meet, then move to each event and just "compete" without further preparation. Liam didn't earn any awards in this meet but it was a great learning experience.

Liam ended his Level 7 season by qualifing for both State and Regional competitions. This time, as previously noted, the competition groups were smaller and the performance levels were higher. In the State competition there were only 19 competitors in the age 12+ Level 7 group. Liam had an intense experience in this meet as, in his second to last event (H-Bar), he lost his grip and flew off the apparatus. His training helped him greatly as he didn't panic and although landing at the edge of the mats and on his shoulder, he rolled out and was bruised but not seriously injured. His real mettle shown through next though as he got back up on the H-Bar and finished his routine. The last event for him was "Floor" and he made it through that entire routine as well even with his bruised muscles. To cap off this meet, even though he did not win any recognitions, his all-around score qualified him for regionals, and, an actual Olympic Gymnast (who happened to be attending the State Meet) came over to congratulate him on his perseverance. Liam went on to compete in the Regionals held in Orem, UT in a competition group of 23. He placed 16th All-Around and didn't appear on the medal stand but had a good over-all experience for his Level 7 year.

As the 2017-18 season gets ready to start, Liam once more was recognized for his continued effort and ability and received his "Coach's Recommendation Letter" promoting him to a Level 8 gymnast. Liam loves the sport of gymnastics and continues to strive to be the best he can be. We look forward to more exciting competition seasons with the Gymnastics Unlimited family and a bright future for Liam Madsen.

Liam at Level 7: Improving his form / style on apparatus & (in his Level 8, 4th year) getting defined "back" muscles...