Cultivating the Best You With Reuven Anderson
Valencia High School senior Reuven Anderson is a champion ring gymnast whose strength reaches far wider than gymnasium walls. He and his family of five originally relocated from Minnesota to California in 2016 for his mother’s new job, and for Reuven to attract college athlete prospects. But, as finances became demanding, his single mother had to make the tough decision to return her family home in March of 2018. Reuven, with his goals on the horizon and dreams in mind, decided to stay to train at Waller’s GymJam Academy in Canyon Country, and thus continue his path.
“It’s been a struggle,” Reuven comments when asked how he is adjusting to living long-distance from his family. The decision to stay was not an easy one, but after talking it through with his family, friends, and coaches, they reached the conclusion that it would be the best choice for his future. He is currently living with a teammate’s family in Valencia, and is very grateful to have their support on this journey. He sometimes feels guilty not being home in Minnesota with his twin sister, mom, and two other siblings, but he stayed to work hard and that work is certainly paying off.
The state championship competition fell just one week after Reuven’s family headed home for Minnesota, and rather than letting his emotions bring him down, he proved his strength in all forms and made his supporters proud by winning and advancing to regionals, and then ultimately nationals, ranking first place the entire way and securing the titles of 2018 Regional and National ring champion. Working under the coaching of former Olympians and World Champion gymnasts has given Reuven the support he needs both on and off the rings; when he is feeling low, he finds comfort in his gym, teammates, and coaches to keep his spirits high.
“[The emotions] have definitely made me a stronger athlete,” Reuven says when reflecting on his past year of changes and triumphs. His internal drive for success was constantly tested and undoubtedly strengthened without having his family around. He learned to rely on himself and those around him for support, shaping him into the resilient athlete and person he is today.
Physically, Reuven gains his strength though at-home training and finds inspiration in watching gymnast videos: “I [am] motivated to become that star.” And now, with a committed scholarship to the University of Iowa in the fall, he is a star that refuses to dim.
The financial demand of gymnastics almost cost Reuven his athletic career, but after choosing one year ago to specialize on the rings, he has been able to continue and focus with the sport that has ultimately changed his life. Alongside his own training, Reuven has begun coaching children at Waller’s gym in his free time to cover expenses and to encourage his fellow gymnasts to keep going as he does, no matter the obstacles hanging in the way.
Reuven’s accomplishments thus far are only the beginning for the young athlete. His next goal is to take home the NCAA championship with his future college teammates as well as for rings, and he hopes to study either biochemical engineering or kinesiology as his major. Reuven’s mindset for success remains the same for the future as it is in the gym: “I just want to push myself to be the best version of who I can be, and work hard at everything I do, just like I learned in gymnastics.”
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