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We had the opportunity to interview Colin Van Wicklen, Worlds Championship Team Member and Alpha Factor® Brand Ambassador, on his life in and out of the gym. Here’s what he had to say:

What is your first gymnastics memory?

"Learning a back flip for the first time. I was bouncing on the trampoline after practice and just decided to go for it. Definitely a memory that has stuck with me."

Who is your biggest cheerleader supporting your passion for gymnastics?

"I have so many. I’m truly blessed my support system. If I had to choose, I would probably have to say my mom. She took me to all my practices and competitions as a kid. She wants my dream just as bad as I do."

What motivates you?

"My husky pups, Baloo and Luna. I love them more than life itself. I thought about them before each routine at world championships and I couldn’t help but to smile. I want nothing more to make them proud."

What is the most monumental move you successfully landed in your career?

"I would say learning/landing my double front 1/2 out on vault. Not only is it crazy hard, but it played a huge role in my position on the World Championship Team."

What do you do outside of the gym to improve your craft?

"I take nutrition and recovery very seriously. I track my water intake to make sure I’m properly hydrated. I plan out my meals so I can fuel up for practice or recover after gym. I sauna after hard days to speed up the recovery process. I also make sure I get a minimum of nine hours a sleep a night. Everything I do outside of gym is to help me get better."

What three things do you think make a successful gymnast?

"Motivation, persistence and above all you have to be a dreamer. Dreams are what will keep you going through the good and the tough times."

What was your favorite behind the scenes experience while in Doha participating at World’s?

"After team finals we all went to ride jeeps in the sand dunes. That was wild! We also got to ride camels. Glad we got to do some sightseeing while we were there."

What is your favorite event?

"High Bar. I love the feeling of doing a big release and hearing the crowd cheer after I catch it. There is no better feeling than sticking a high bar dismount after a great routine."

After your injury, what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome and what helped you move past it?

"I already had bad ankles. So after I took a bad landing and tore a ligament in both ankles I was pretty devastated. I felt like I had just broken into the Senior National Team level and was scared that after this injury I wouldn’t be able to get back to that level. I tried to take it one day at a time and use the time I had to get better at the non-leg events. I improved significantly on Pommel Horse, which was my worst event. It was a really tough time but I’m very happy that I had my support system. My teammates, family and friends were there to support me. And Baloo made it easier by wagging his tail at the door every day when I would get home."

What advice would you give aspiring gymnasts overcoming similar hurdles or struggling with past injuries?

"Don’t give up! It may be hard now but when you get that victory, that redemption, it’s going to be that much sweeter. Don’t be afraid to step back and say - How can I get better from this? Injuries suck, but all we can do is take it one day at a time and try to be better than we were the day before."

What song are you currently listening to on repeat?

"Anything with Chance the Rapper. He is one of my role models and one of my biggest inspirations. His music made me realize what I can accomplish."

What are you doing when you aren’t in the gym?

"Playing with my pups. We go on walks, play in the dog park, or even go take trips to Starbucks for some puppy-chinos. I also love to cook so I’m always experimenting with healthy recipes."

What’s one item you can’t go to the gym without?

"Coffee! I can’t go a day without coffee. I love the taste and it gives me that caffeine kick to get pumped up for a workout."

If gymnastics didn’t exist, what would your career be?

"I want to work in a non-profit organization to help inner city kids achieve their goals. I believe each and every individual has a right to achieve and pursue their goal. Unfortunately, some kids are not able to pursue their goals because they lack resources. I want to provide those resources to those kids. Getting into college, playing sports, or helping with homework – so they can graduate high school, make music - anything. I want to let them live out their dreams, just like I did."

"Alpha Factor has been amazing and a true blessing to me. I think it’s easy for sponsors to jump on board when you make a World Team. However, Alpha Factor signed me when I was off National Team and was injured. It’s that type of belief and support that helped me to eventually make the World Championship Team. Alpha Factor has helped me out more than they will ever know. I’m so pumped to continue to represent Alpha Factor and all the great things they stand for. They truly are a company that believes in dreams."

We are thrilled to have Colin on our Brand Ambassador team and continue to cheer him on in every event, in every competition. We can’t wait to watch him grow and represent Alpha Factor throughout his career.