Aug. 3, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The United States Women’s Gymnastics Team has taken home some serious hardware from the last two Olympiads, much of which can be credited to the guidance of a former Hawkeye assistant coach.
Liang Chow, who spent seven years from 1991 to 1998 coaching as an assistant for both the University of Iowa men’s and women’s gymnastics teams, has coached both Iowan Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas to Olympic gold medals in the last four years.
Johnson captured the gold medal as the balance beam champion at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She was also the silver medalist in the floor competition and the all-around. Douglas took home gold in the all-around competition yesterday and was a member of the Olympic team gold as well.
Both Johnson, a native of Des Moines, and Douglas, who hails from the state of Virginia, have trained for years at Chow’s Gymnastics & Dance Institute located in West Des Moines. Chow opened the training center after his coaching stint at Iowa, which saw five gymnasts make the U.S. National Men’s Team.
The former standout for the Chinese National Team has served as a personal coach for both Team USA gold medalists, helping both become international stars.
One thing is for sure, no matter the scene, his loyalty lies with the Iowa Hawkeyes, as illustrated in this article by Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register:
Liang Chow wants you to know two things.
One, he absolutely considers himself an Iowan after 21 years of living in the state. He may be from China originally, but he’s now a State Fair-going Midwesterner at heart. He and his wife, Liwen Zhuang, even gave their 7-year-old son an American name, Kevin.
And secondly, his rooting allegiance is squarely with the Iowa Hawkeyes, the school he once served as an assistant gymnastics coach. His current star, Gabby Douglas, can often be seen wearing a Hawkeyes gymnastics shirt, even though she grew up in Virginia.
“It’s Iowa, not Iowa State,” Chow emphasizes. “One time, NBC screwed that up. I was pretty mad.”
To read the full article from Emmert, click HERE.