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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa— Minyoung Kwon joined the University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team as an assistant coach August 11 and he hit the ground running.
The former Korean national team member brings more than 30 years of gymnastics experience to the program and spent time as a judge for various national and international events. Kwon left his most recent position as head coach of Westside Gymnastics in Tennessee to join the Hawkeyes.
Kwon described his brief time in Iowa concisely.
“It has been Fun and exciting,” he said. “I feel like I’ve come back to my college life. I want to train men’s gymnasts again. Everybody here is nice and kind.”
“Stepping into a gym is very easy for him,” UI head coach JD Reive said. “There’s a comfortable level of interaction with the guys. The main point is good gymnastics, and he understands that and is bringing that into the gym. We’re going to see a great benefit from him once the semester begins.”
Iowa will have a roster of 21, which is a lot for two coaches to watch. While they can supervise, maintaining the focus on an individual level is challenging but, adding a third coach brings more balance to practice.
“That extra help will push some of the outliers and alternates,” Reive said. “That allows the whole team to improve.”
Along with adding an extra set of eyes in the gym, Kwon brings a technical aspect to the program. With five freshmen and six sophomores on the team, the fundamentals are important to maintain high level gymnastics to keep developing raw talent. Kwon has seen improvement in a short time.
“First, I am teaching the mental part,” Kwon said. “Secondly, I am teaching them how to be a better gymnast more quickly. Some gymnasts want a skill immediately, but it doesn’t work like that. This is top level gymnastics; they need it step-by-step and work through the skill.”
Junior Del Vecchio Orozco is one of the gymnasts working with Kwon, and he has noticed his energy in the gym.
“He seems like he’s a little kid out there, who just got a new toy,” Orozco said. “He’s seeing what we can do right now, he’s having a lot of fun with us, and I can see the excitement in him. It’s a good energy in the gym. He has a good hands-on approach and gives a lot of advice.”
In his short time at the UI, Kwon has made himself at home in Iowa City. The college town has been welcoming to Kwon and his family, since moving from Nashville.
“The college town is lovely,” Kwon said. “While out for my wife’s birthday, we walked around of Iowa City, and it’s very nice. I now find myself walking around campus, and I love it. I want to thank everyone for being so welcoming to me and my family.”