Wow! Have you been watching any of the Olympic games that began in July? I love to watch the gymnastics competitions. Seeing the gymnasts on the balance beam, parallel bars and the floor competitions really makes me want to learn how to do that stuff! So, this month I decided to talk to a gymnastics coach who is also a world champion acrobatic gymnast from Kiev, Ukraine. Viktor Mytnik and his partner Vladimir Besedin are co-owners of Rising Stars Gymnastics academy in Millstone Township, New Jersey (and they both starred in the “Champions on Ice show”!). Viktor took some time to talk to Kidsville News! about what it’s like to be a gymnastics coach.
Truman: When, and why, did you first become interested in being a gymnastics coach?
Mytnik: All my life I was a gymnast. I started gymnastics when I was 6 years old. I love kids, and that’s why I became a coach. Now we have more than 300 students and 100 team members that I work with.
Truman: You were a gymnast on the USSR National Team and a 2006 world champion silver medalist. What does that feel like to receive a silver medal?
Mytnik: My coach prepared me to win the gold medal, but winning the silver was a good experience, too.
Truman: What is it like to make the transition from a competitor to a coach?
Mytnik: I went from being a competitor to a performer to a coach, so really, it wasn’t much of a transition.
Truman: What do you do every day? Describe a typical day on the job.
Mytnik: I go to the gym and work out. Then, I spend some time working on getting the new gym ready. Then I coach the kids and have maybe like five classes a day.
Truman: What’s the hardest part of your job?
Mytnik: The hardest thing is to see students upset from not performing well.
Truman: What’s the best part of your job?
Mytnik: The best part of the job is to see my students receive first place at a competition and see them standing up on the podium. It is also rewarding to see them progress and improve.
Truman: What is your favorite hobby or thing to do when you are not working?
Mytnik: Go to the gym to workout and play golf.
Truman: You are an acrobatic gymnast, but you also perform acrobatics on ice skates. Which do you like better — gymnastics or ice skating?
Mytnik: They are two totally different things, and I really can’t pick between them. I love them both.
Truman: You grew up in the Ukraine and moved to America 10 years ago. Why did you come to America? What do you miss most about your home country?
Mytnik: The number one reason I moved here is freedom — the opportunity to work here and to keep the money you earn. Really, there is no work in my profession in the Ukraine. What I miss most is my family, and it’s beautiful where I am from.
Truman: What do you like the most about America?
Mytnik: Best thing about the U.S. is freedom.
Truman: What advice would you give to kids who are interested in this profession?
Mytnik: My advice would be to work and train hard. Be nice to others and have a lot of patience.
Truman: Thank you so much for talking to me. I can’t wait to work on my gymnastics skills. Maybe one day I can be a gymnastics coach like you!