For Stephen Nedoroscik, world champion and Worcester Tech graduate, getting gold was believing in himself



Stephen Nedoroscik never felt fully prepared before the World Championships last weekend.

He caught a bad cold at his home in Penn State and was ill for eight days, he recalls, drinking tea, taking vitamin C and a mixture of cough and cold medicine to recover.

Nedoroscik had to be fever-free for 48 hours before he could travel to Japan. He made that window by a hair’s breadth, he said, but he was still five days late in Japan and missed an important day of training.

Even after the stress of falling ill, feeling “terrified” that the combination of cold weather and his asthma would affect his performance, Nedoroscik won the United States’ first gold medal on pommel horse on October 23 at the World Championships. Artistic Gymnastics World 2021 in Kitakyushu, Japan.

Success boiled down to believing in yourself, Nedoroscik, from Worcester, told MassLive.

“I believe in myself a lot and I think it’s part of my formula when it comes to competitions,” said Nedoroscik, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday. “I really believe in myself and understand that I’ve done all the work inside the gym and when I get to a competition at this point I don’t have to stress. I just need to relax and enjoy the moment.

Now back from Japan, the scale of victory settles for Nedoroscik.

“I wake up in the morning and my first thought is’ where the hell am I ‘and then it’s like’ oh my god I’m back home and I’m not in Japan anymore. In addition, I am a world champion, ”he said. “Whenever I remember it, it’s like a new cloud immediately.”

Nedoroscik, a 2016 Worcester Tech graduate, is only the third American to win a pommel horse medal at the World Championships, joining Kurt Thomas’ silver in 1979 and Alexander Artemev’s bronze in 2006, according to USA Gymnastics.

The pommel horse is gymnastic equipment for balancing and balancing prowess. Nedoroscik’s parents enrolled him in gymnastics at age 4.5, he said, because he was an active baby who climbed everything.

“I was climbing, I was scaring the babysitters,” said Nedoroscik, who quit gymnastics for a month at the age of 8, but came back and never looked back.

Nedoroscik said he enjoys the routine of the sport. Last year, he placed first at the Melbourne World Cup in Melbourne, Australia.

“You make these tiny improvements every day over the months and months,” he said. “I really like the journey to get better and better.”

Stephen Nedoroscik of the United States competes in pommel horse in the men’s apparatus finals at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, western Japan on Saturday, October 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Hiro Komae)PA

These days Nedoroscik only returns to Worcester around Christmas, he said, maybe twice a year if he’s lucky. He grew up around Indian Lake.

Michael Meagher, head of Worcester Tech’s robotics and automation technology department, said he had no idea Nedoroscik was an award-winning gymnast when he was in his class.

One day another student told Meagher to ask Nedoroscik what he had been doing over the weekend, the teacher recalls. It was then that he discovered that Nedoroscik had just won the national junior championships.

He was “one of the smallest people you will ever meet,” Meagher said. “You would never know that this young man was doing gymnastics at the level he was.”

To this day, Meagher still keeps some of Nedoroscik’s class plans, and Nedoroscik tries to visit the high school on home visits.

“He uses my old projects from when I was in high school to show the kids things and he will tell them that this is the guy who built this circuit and who made this project,” said Nedoroscik. “It’s really nice talking to them and letting them know that what they’re doing in this store is really going to help them.”

Meagher remembered that Nedoroscik was an ace with a Rubix cube. You could give it all crooked and it would solve it, lining up all the colors, about 20 seconds later, Meagher recalls.

Nedoroscik said he had recently returned to the Rubix Cubes and now has a new all-time record of 12.81 seconds.

“Determined, motivated, confident but calm. He was quietly confident. He knew what he was doing, every once in a while you had to give him a helping hand, ”Meagher said. “There was no challenge he couldn’t meet.

Nine months ago Nedoroscik graduated in Electrical Engineering. But dreams of following this career path are in abeyance.

“I’m going to be a gymnast for as long as I can while I’m in the prime of my life,” said Nedoroscik. “You can be an electrical engineer forever, but you can’t be a gymnast forever.”

For the children of Worcester who dream of one day being a world champion, Nedoroscik’s advice is to believe in yourself, the exact state of mind that propelled him to the championships.

“I think if you have a set mindset about anything in life and you’re always going to go the extra mile, you’re going to work your butt for it, that’s all that really matters, that’s is how much you put in it, “he said.” Just believe in yourself and do whatever you can and you can accomplish anything. “

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