Watching the 2012 Olympics is something extra special for this Asbury Park resident.
For more than 20 years, Phillip Caporaso’s passion has been gymnastics. His love of everything jumping and rolling, twisting and flipping began when he was 15 years old attending high school.
In between teaching and training other gymnasts, Caporaso competed nationally in World Cup Gymnastics, consistently placing in the top three in his category and traveled around the country as an Elite Gymnast.
But it was a chance meeting in 2002 at an area gym that developed into a professional friendship that had Caporaso crying during the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies last week.
TBP: I have been thrilled to know you for 15 years and you always have been excited about the Summer Olympics. What makes this year so special?
Caporaso: I have worked and trained with Steven Gluckstein, from the Atlantic Highlands, who is representing the US in the Men’s Olympic Trampoline competition. We have been working side by side together and training together for ten years now. He is 22 years old and the absolute best at the trampoline and going to win a medal for our country. His brother, Jeffrey, is a star too and will probably be at the 2016 games.
I have been a crying mess since he left to go to the Bela Karolyi Ranch in Colorado to train with the Olympic team a couple of weeks ago. He is also with his amazing coaches Tatiana Kovaleva and Kyle Bowen who live in our area.
TBP: What makes this moment so special for you?
Caporaso: When he left he was feeling confident and I was feeling a little star struck, honestly. I am living through him. Every athlete’s dream is to go to the Olympics. He has given us all that fire inside of us again. It is an amazing and overwhelming feeling that you get seeing a friend for so long live his dream.
TBP: He is first competing on August 3. What should we be looking for in the competition?
Caporaso: First, he will compete in the qualifiers. If he makes it to the finals, which he will, he has a skill that has never been competed on in the Olympics. He will be putting it all out there. If he does it well and lands right, the skill will be called the “Gluckstein” forever.
Routines in the competition are seventy seconds. They have to always stay in the box on the bed of the trampoline. Form is most important – pointed toes, straight legs, head positioned properly. And then landing – competitors have to land straight up and down and not step back. Landing is the last thing the judges see so it is important because they remember it.
TBP: You are texting with our local Olympian while he is in London.
Caporaso: Up until now, he has not had the chance to hang with the rest of the US gymnastics team so he said that he is very happy about spending time with everyone. Steve also said that this all finally feels real to him – the Olympics and competition. He has been training two times a day for at least four hours each time, five to six days a week.
He said he has been having crazy dreams and that the food in the Olympic Village is overwhelming – anything he wants any time he wants it.
For anyone reading this who has supported a friend with their dream, this is what I am living right now. Steve is the kindest, most generous and smart guys. Please Tweet him your support and root for him.
Caporaso trains kids of all ages at Aerials Gymnastics in Eatontown. There cannot possibly be a kinder, smarter and more passionate teacher for your children. AerialsGymnasticsNJ.com has more info. Learn more about Gluckstein by clicking here.