Freshman Daniel Ribeiro
March 24, 2008
Throughout the 2008 season, Illinois gymnasts will walk Illini fans through the entire season, giving in depth looks into the team and the season, while also giving gymnastics enthusiasts a closer look into the six different events that make up a gymnastics meet. Overall, the Illini, who have finished in the top five at NCAA Championships the last five straight years, hope to give Orange and Blue fans an exciting ride through the 2008 season as they vie for the programs 10th national title in 2008.
In the ninth edition of the Illini Weekly Q & A, we talk with freshman Daniel Ribeiro about being ranked No. 1 in the nation on pommel horse and the win over Michigan at Huff Hall.
How does it feel to be ranked No.1 in the nation on pommel horse, especially as a freshman?
"It means so much to me. It's definitely something that I've always dreamed of. My personal goal is to finish No. 1 on pommel horse. I think that other people thought that it was expected, but it was kind of a surprise to me as a freshman. I was a national champion at the 2007 Junior Olympics on pommel horse, but I had never really competed against competition at this level so I did not know what to expect. It was really exciting for me, personally."
You've recently started competing on floor, as well as pommel horse. What does it take to balance the two events?
"Competing on floor helps me out a lot. It gives me the chance to balance out the pressure of only doing one event. If I have a bad day on pommel horse then I had a bad meet, but adding floor, I have two chances now to hit on both events and to have a good overall meet."
What do you do personally to prepare for pommel horse before each meet?
"Routines. Routines. Routines. I just go and do as many routines as my body can physically handle. By the end of the season, I want to go into nationals with the mindset that I've done more routines than anyone else in the country."
Is there a difference in how you prepare for pommel horse and floor?
"Pommel horse is something that I'm more talented on, so it comes easy to me, while floor takes a toll on my body. I can't do as much on floor every day, where with pommel horse I can do it over and over."
Do you like the challenges that competing on floor gives you?
"I actually like to compete floor better sometimes because I don't get as nervous on floor. It's more of a relaxing thing for me. It really gets me into the competition and that carries over to my pommel horse routine in the next event."
What is something that most people don't know about you?
"My father was a collegiate gymnast and he also competed in the 1980 Olympics for Brazil. Gymnastics has been in my family my whole life."
What do you enjoy most about Illinois gymnastics?
"The friendships are what I enjoy most. I can tell just from having competitions with other schools that the friendships we have here are amazing. We have such a great, fun recruiting class coming in next year, so I'm really looking forward to that as well."
How did it feel to get the first win at Huff Hall against Michigan on March 8th?
"It was amazing. We did it for our seniors. This one was important for us and we came together and came out with a win."
What is it like to compete in front of the home crowd at Huff?
"It took me a couple meets to get adjusted to the crowd, but at our last meet it definitely helped. Especially when I was on pommel horse, the crowd was intense and it helped me to hit my best routine all year."