Gatson’s Quest For Gold And A “Normal Life”
While other gymnasts may have spent childhood experimenting with other activities before narrowing in on this high intensity sport, Jason Gatson knew from the start that gymnastics was the only thing for him.
“I have always known that I wanted to do gymnastics,” said Gatson, a recent 2004 Olympic Gymnastics Team qualifier and 2004 Visa American Cup Champion. “I love the sport.”
Indeed Gatson loves the sport. The youngest male ever to represent the U.S. at the World Championships has never wanted to do anything else, nor has he had the time to with his grueling schedule. When he is not at the gym practicing more than five hours a day, six days a week, he is often relaxing his body, preparing for the next practice to come.
“There is not much time to do anything else,” Gatson said. “I do homework, get some sleep, and then get up early to train.”
So what does this gymnastics prodigy do with his time when he takes off his grips and walks out of the gym?
Recently, Gaston bought a house in Colorado Springs, Colo., near the U.S. Olympic Training Center where he has lived and trained for the past eight years. Using furniture he acquired while living in the dorms at the Training Center and with help from his mom and dad, Gatson is filling up the house.
“My teammate Brett (McClure) also bought a house out here,” Gatson said. “I love it because I can do my business at the gym and then come home to my house.”
On weekends, or better yet, on Gatson’s one day off – Sundays – Gatson enjoys relaxing at home. “That’s practically all I have time to do,” Gatson said.
Gatson also finds himself busy running errands, hanging out with friends, playing cards – poker to be exact – and having barbeques from time to time.
Vacation Spot: Hawaii
Movie: Old School
Gatson likes to spend time with McClure, also a U.S. Olympic Team Qualifier, and other athletes who train at the Olympic Training Center. He said he has friends who are training in wrestling, judo and taekwondo.
“At first it was overwhelming to live at the (U.S. Olympic Training) Center, and I thought, ‘Wow! I can’t believe I am here,’” Gatson said. “But eventually you get into the grove with training and eating.”
“All of us are doing the same thing, training, and going through the same thing.”
Come this August in Athens, Gatson will be hoping to rise above the “same thing,” and win a gold medal he has long waited for.