Exclusive Interview – Akash Modi

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Akash Modi
Photo: Zimbio

Akash Modi has been on the Men’s Senior National team since the 2013 Winter Cup Challenge and since then he not only has made a name for himself at the collegiate level but he is also now doing it on the Elite scene.

While attending Stanford University for Mechanical Engineering, Modi had been at the top of the leader board in NCAA competitions.

His continued winning streak in the Men’s All-Around has demonstrated his dominance in NCAA Gymnastics:

  • 2017 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, West Point, NY
    • 1st-AA, PB
    • 2nd-PH(T)
    • 3rd-HB(T)
    • 4th-Team, VT(T)
  • 2016 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, Columbus, OH
    • 1st-PB, HB(T)
    • 2nd-Team, AA (T)
    • 8th-FX(T)
  • 2015 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, Norman, OK
    • 1st-AA
    • 2nd-Team, PB, HB
    • 3rd-PH
    • 8th-FX(T)
  • 2014 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, Ann Arbor, MI
    • 2nd-AA
    • PB
    • 3rd-Team, PH

Since graduating with his undergraduate degree, Modi is now working on a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.

He continues to train at Stanford but now his focus is on making a World Championship team.  His most recent results at the Senior level may be an indication that he is on the right path.

  • 2018 Winter Cup Challenge, Las Vegas, NV
    • 2nd-FX(T), PB(T)
    • 3rd-AA
    • 7th-VT(T), HB
  • 2017 P&G Championships, Anaheim, CA
    • 1st-PB
    • 4th-AA
    • 5th-HB
    • 7th-SR
    • 8th-FX
  • 2017 AT&T American Cup bronze medalist
  • 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, St. Louis. MO
    • 5th-PH, PB
    • 6th-AA
  • 2016 P&G Championships, Hartford, CT
    • 3rd-PB
    • 4th-AA, PH(T)
    • 6th-FX
  • 2016 Winter Cup Challenge, Las Vegas, NV
    • 2nd-AA, HB
    • 7th-PB(T)

GBC – What gym did you attend during your JO & Elite years and who were your coaches?

AM – I went to Monmouth Gymnastics Academy for my JO career from the age of 6 to 18, after which I moved to Stanford University where I’ve been for the last 4.5 years. My coach back at MGA was Yuriy Aminov, and my coaches here at Stanford are Thom Glielmi, Karl Ziehn, and Syque Caesar.

GBC – Why did you choose Stanford to compete in NCAA Gymnastics?

AM – Stanford was pretty dominant from ‘09-’12 when I was in high school watching NCAA gymnastics, so I was mesmerized by the level of difficulty and execution they had and knew I wanted to . I also knew of the academic prestige at Stanford and wanted to continue my education at a high level.

GBC – How did your JO/Elite training differ than your collegiate training?

AM – The two big differences between my JO training and collegiate training were the team aspect and the level of expectation. In my high school years, I had no teammates that were close to my age or level of gymnastics. Then I came to Stanford where I had a whole team of my peers. Every one of my teammates has given me something that has helped me in life and gymnastics, and they have all been extremely supportive. The coaches here at Stanford expect perfection, and it has really pushed me to improve on my execution which has always been a weakness of mine.

GBC – Did you find it difficult to train your Elite routines while still competing at the collegiate level?

AM – Not at all! In fact, competing in collegiate competition allowed me to experiment with new skills and routines that I would have been hesitant to do in higher pressure Elite level meets. Having a competition nearly every weekend during the collegiate season helped me gain confidence in my routines and my ability to compete well regardless of how I feel, and it helped me figure out how to deal with nerves as well.

GBC – When you traveled to Elite meets, did your college coach go with you?  If not, who did?

AM – One of my three college coaches would travel with me to Elite meets and National Team training camps. The only exception was if I was going to a team competition internationally, and one of the other team members’ coaches was chosen as the head coach for the team.

GBC – How did you find time to balance school work, training, competing, and traveling?

AM – Time management has always been a strength of mine, so it actually has not been too difficult for me to balance all of my responsibilities. Stanford has also been extremely accommodating of my schedule, allowing me to take tests on the road and send in homework via email. The coaches also understand the academic pressure we go through and adjust the training when necessary.

GBC – Now that you have graduated from Stanford, where are you currently training?

AM – I’m currently doing my master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford, so I’m continuing my training here at Stanford. I’m also the graduate volunteer assistant, so I help out with the team whenever I’m needed.

GBC – What goals do you have leading up to 2020?

AM – My personal goals are to improve my execution and the look of my gymnastics to be competitive with the top guys in the world. My team goals are to make the World Championships teams for 2018 and 2019 and bring back a team medal for the US.

GBC – For you, which event is the hardest and why?

AM – High bar for sure. I’m scared of heights, (I refuse to go on roller coasters) so every turn I take fills me with fear. It’s also an event that does not come naturally to me, so I’ve had to work extremely hard to figure out how to construct a routine that works for me.

GBC – Are you working on any upgrades in your routines?

AM – I have an upgrade on almost every event that I’m on the verge of adding. I’ll be adding one upgrade to pommel horse and possibly on floor for my upcoming meet in Stuttgart. I’ll likely throw in all of my upgrades by the time National Championships come around in August, and I’m hoping to compete a skill there on pommel horse that I’ve never seen anyone compete before.

GBC – Quick game, fill in the blanks:

  1. What is one thing you are afraid of? – Spiders
  2. What is your favorite movie? – The Prestige
  3. Who is your gymnastics idol? – Raj Bhavsar
  4. Who do you want to have dinner with? – Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Super Mario)
  5. Do you have rituals that you do before you train or compete? – Play some videogames before I compete
  6. What did you want to be when you grew up? – Professional video game player
  7. Do you have a secret crush? – I have one love, and it’s not a secret: Taco Bell

You can help support Akash on his journey to the 2020 Olympics by clicking here!

Source: usagym.org

 

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