Student athlete profile

Name: Colin Xiang

Year: senior

Hometown: Clarendon Hills

When did you first start gymnastics?

I started my sophomore year of high school. My friend was doing it at the time. I went in for practice one day and I was kind of on the team.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

I think being able to overcome your challenges and achieving your goals is really cool. Once you get a skill that you've been practicing for a while, it's a lot of satisfaction.

How did you become a pommel horse specialist?

I just think it looks cool. I made a lot of progress early on, so I kind of stuck with it. There are a lot of challenges on pommel horse. I think there is an element of creativity to gymnastics that I really like a lot. You get to experiment, which is not always true for other sports.

What are you excited about this season?

I think we have a lot of new talent in freshmen who have joined the team. I'm excited to impart some of my knowledge and see them grow as gymnasts.

How have you improved since you started?

Overall I think my mindset is the most important thing I've improved.

How does your coach motivate the team?

I think that my coach always tries to make us more open to try new things. He tries to incorporate that element of creativity. I think he always keeps it light-hearted. He tells you to try your best, and at the end of the day, it will be OK. We're there to have fun.

What is your goal for the season?

I want to break a 7.0. I want to learn some new tricks on pommel horse - probably circle-related skills.

Will you continue with gymnastics?

I know some colleges have club teams and intramural teams, so hopefully I will be able to continue. I think gymnastics has left a big impact on my high school career, so I hope to continue that.

Why does coach CJ Johnson like having Xiang on the team?

He is a leader - his work ethic is one of his best qualities. He is a sound athlete that will do all he can to help others. He's very respected by his teammates and never begrudges teammates when asked for help. He's very down-to-earth.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by Jim Slonoff