Justin Spring (FIG photo)
Aug. 16, 2008
Former Illinois great Justin Spring updates fans on the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team's adventures since capturing the Bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Q. How does it feel to be an Olympic medalist?
Spring: It is something I have dreamed about for my whole life. I never even thought that I would be a part of the Olympic team, let alone contribute to winning a medal. I have never been more proud to represent my country and the University of Illinois.
Q. What's it been like with all the attention surrounding the team these last few days after capturing the bronze?
Spring: It has been crazy! We are in this bubble in the athlete village and we keep hearing stories about how the meet was pretty popular and everyone thought we did a good job. It makes me proud to be an American. We immediately went around and did interviews for various broadcast companies like the Today Show and Access Hollywood. I am enjoying my time off from the sport and haven't been back in the gym since the meet... it feels great to take a break!
Q. What was running through your head after you nailed your high bar routine?
Spring: I remember saying to myself, "It's happening!" We were hitting routines and the momentum was building. We were so pumped going in to the last 2 events, we just had to finish the meet off on a good note.
Q. I've seen comments about how the team finals felt like an NCAA Championship meet because of the closeness of the team. How did competing here at Illinois prepare you for that?
Spring: Four of us were from NCAA teams so we all knew what it was like to work and sweat for a team. This team was no different. We are all so close and get along like we have been training together for years.
Q. Talk a little about the team camaraderie...
Spring: Our team gets along like we are all brothers. It had made this whole experience amazing and unforgettable.
Q. Have you and any other team members been able to go to any other Olympic events?
Spring: We all went to see the USA Basketball victory over Spain tonight... it was a blast!
Q. You've mentioned that you plan on continuing training for the 2012 Olympics, but what happens next? Do you take some time off or do you continue training and competing for the next 4 years?
Spring: I will be taking a bunch of time off. We have a post Olympic tour that travels around the U.S. and I will be doing that for the next three months. It will involve some gymnastics, but it wont be anything like full Olympic routines... so my body will get some rest. After that I will continue to train until 2012 and hopefully make it to London.