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Championship calling

Alex Diab getting ready for USA gymnastics championships

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 9:56 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com)
Glen Ellyn resident Alex Diab works on the still rings Monday during a practice at Premier Gymnastics Academy in Downers Grove. The elite gymnast will compete at the USA Championships in August.

GLEN ELLYN – Alex Diab made quite a name for himself as a freshman at Glenbard West as he captured the individual all-around title at the state gymnastics meet in 2012.

Now more than two years later, the incoming senior has his sights on something bigger.

Still carrying the dream of competing in the Olympics, Diab continues to take steps toward that goal. In late August, the 17-year old will participate in the USA Championships in Pittsburgh after qualifying out of the Junior Olympic Nationals in Long Beach, Calif., in May.

Diab came in first place on the rings, second on the floor and fifth in the all-around at the Junior Olympic Nationals.

"I was real happy with my performance," Diab said. "It ended up being a pretty good meet."

After the USA Championships, 10 gymnasts (from ages 15 to 18) will be picked for the Junior National squad, which practices at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado while competing in worldwide events. Diab made that team once before.

"That's my goal, to make the national team," Diab said. "And hopefully I can come in the top-three in the all-around."

Diab is coached by Paul Hamm, the 2004 Olympic all around gold medalist, and Georgi Videnov, a former Olympic coach for Bulgaria. He trains at the Premier Gymnastics Academy in Downers Grove, a facility that is run by his father Mark.

"He's gotten a lot better and physically, he has matured," Mark Diab said, "and he is a really hard worker who is super focused. He is definitely one of the top gymnasts in a select couple of events, the rings, the vault and floor."

Also on the horizon for Diab is his college choice with the likes of Stanford, Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois among the schools interested. He will take official visits to colleges in the fall.

"It's awesome, I like it," Diab said of the recruiting process. "It's very exciting talking to all of the coaches."

Diab was able to attend many of Glenbard West's meets this past spring and he saw younger brother Mark finish seventh at state in the all-around as a freshman.

"I am pretty good friends with a lot of the guys [on West's team]," he said. "They had a great year."

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