When former Minnesota Gophers gymnast Shane Wiskus qualified for the Olympics, it was a crowning moment for the Spring Park native. But when speaking to reporters after making the team, Wiskus revealed he had an unorthodox path to Tokyo.
Wiskus' preparation began when the country shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After training in backyards and alone at local gyms, Wiskus returned to the U of M campus to find out that the gymnastics program was one of four sports that fell victim to budget cuts.
As a result, the 21-year-old moved to train at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs but fell off the high bar three times at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships last month.
While the two-time NCAA champion rebounded to make the team, it called for reflection on Saturday night.
“It was just like one thing after another,” Wiskus said. “I've just been through the wringer, and I kind of told myself that I've been through enough and I'm ready to show what I can do at this competition."
To add another chapter to Wiskus' year, the U of M athletic department sent out a congratulatory tweet that was slammed on social media. While Wiskus took the high road by thanking the university for his time there, he also stated that he was thankful to get out when he did.
Then again, it was just another obstacle on his way to Tokyo.
"It's been a crazy year," Wiskus said. "You just can't make this stuff up.”