United States Shawn Johnson is congratulated by his coach Liang Chow after competing in Final beam at the covered Stadium national women day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Liang Chow spends almost all his life in a gym. Trained in gymnastics from the club in the district where he lived in Beijing featherless, at the age of five years, from your physical education class from school for promising tumbling skills, it has been in gyms around the world - training, competing and winning championships. So it was not unusual that on 23 August 1998, it was found in one another, surrounded by the team that had flipped, vaulted and jumped in almost all his life.
Chow was placed at the center of the mat of bright-blue floor of 12 m x 12 m which is always the cube of any gymnastics facility Office. He looked at the uneven bars, the track of the vault, balance beams and foam pit filled with blocks of bright colors of sponge that protect gymnasts fall when they practice new skills. Certainly looked like every other gym had been throughout his career.
but it was different, because this was his. That was the day that gymnastics and dance of Chow Institute opened in West Des Moines, Iowa. "That day, I was standing in the middle of the gym, and looked up," he said. "I was thinking about how he arrived in a plane, with nobody to take care of me, and I went from the ground to the sky." "I was very proud".
has been an exciting flight in effect. More than two decades after that first trip to United States, Chow, 44, is one of the coaches of artistic gymnastics women leaders in the world. In 2008, returned to his country of origin of China for the Beijing Games as a coach for the women's U.S. team and personal trainer Shawn Johnson, who had vaulted his way to the silver medal in the all-around competition. (The U.S. Squadron also won silver in the team event). As coach of another favorite medal in London, Gabrielle Douglas, Chow is fast becoming a wanted man for his ability to make Olympic dreams a reality.
that it is very far from the Chow - who then writes its name the Chinese way, Qiao, but it has changed since then to make it easier for Western languages - who took the flight to United States in 1991. Sweet of his career in competitive gymnastics in Chinese national men's team, where he won the Championship Cup World Masters in 1990 and a bronze medal at the 1989 World Championships, came to United States at the suggestion of her aunt, who earned a doctorate at the University of Iowa in Des Moines. Only familiar with the State system in which the Government fed, housed and took care of athletes like him, Chow came to Iowa banking in a continuation of those services. Nobody said that it would not be the case. "In China, he was living in a dormitory, and the Government paid for everything: food, bus." In Iowa, I had to run after the bus and cook for me, "says, with her ready laugh." "The first weeks in the United States, I was asking, 'where is my food?'"
he can laugh now, but the foreign culture and the lack of support (her aunt took a job at Maine shortly afterwards arrived Chow) leave you overwhelmed. Anything seemed possible, and Chow felt trapped. Had been offered a position as coach in Beijing, but declined to come to the United States - could not return and going back on his word. This will not help that he spoke only limited English. But he could speak gymnastics, so eventually found a position as assistant coach in the program of men at the University of Iowa. He has not been able to communicate with students, he ended up showing the majority of gymnastics competition itself. Nothing, seemed, was lost in the translation, since five of the men who trained ended its first year in the national in the program on the computer.
impressed with what he did with the men's team, coach of the women squad called Chow to assume a role in the women's full-time coaching gymnastics program. They refuse to leave their first gymnastics students, but need a more secure to support the position and his wife, Liwen Zhuang (also a gymnast of the Chinese national team that made the move with him to the United States), he accepted a wage in the women's team. But working with students, he and Liwen knew that they had to start young. "I talked and decided what more we can do if we younger, when girls are cooler and it is easier for them to learn new skills," he said.
After briefly considering other States - "I started with California, and did not like it." He flew to Seattle, and not liked "-a circle back arrived in Iowa." "I felt as Iowa is the place - I like the people and the environment," he said.
with the help of a friend, also got a good deal on an ideal point - a small store and opened its first gymnastics Center in 1998. Within five years, need to be expanded and built its current installation of dos-gimnasio in 11 acres of a cornfield.
from the moment in which he became coach, that I find gymnastics, Chow fun particularly younger students vowed to maintain that youthful passion for the sports part of your teaching style, even with elite athletes. A typical day in your gym sees dozens of gymnasts of all ages cycling through its meetings, with Chow providing stimulus and raise the occasional laughter as a youngster in handstand and swings him around or playfully swats gymnasts practice sprints of vault with a foam bat to accelerate them. Always ready with a smile and a joke, Chow laughs more than he scowls. That is what keeps Shawn Johnson, a native of West Des Moines, with him for almost two decades as a competitive gymnast and guided him to ultimate test of sport: Olympic Games. "Chow is like a father to me, we have been with them for so long," she says.
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is also noted it Gabrielle Douglas, who lived in Virginia Beach, to. Watching on TV the hugs and smiles and genuine support Chow gave Johnson during the Beijing Games, Douglas could practically feel the heat travel all those kilometers and reaching across the screen. "I wanted to be there," says to call coach Chow.
Douglas now lives with a family host to train with Chow in Iowa, and despite losing his family, do not regret the sacrifices made to hone their gymnastics skills with him. "He pulls that we didn't know that we were inside," said.
is the specialty of Chow. Gymnastics, believes, is a great teacher; He credited his time in the sport gives the discipline, perspective and resistance support not only in the gym, but in life as well. "I think that gymnastics I was as a person too," he says. "Without the lessons I learned in gymnastics, would be crushed."
that is why happens in the parables of the same to their students. In the gym of Chow, is all about push athletes not only win, but to win and be satisfied with the trip to the podium. That's exactly what Douglas was looking for, and found him in hugs and warmth he felt when he saw for the first time to Chow. A talented athlete who won the only place guaranteed London Square to win the Olympic tests, Douglas became Chow to aid consistency during the competitions and to learn to tune with butterflies that seemed to take flight during high-pressure events. Focused on turning your attention away from the competition and go back to the gym training, to the dozens of routines that she performs over and over again to build muscle memory.
worked. "I say, if you make your routine and follow my instructions and you're doing well, is your business." "And if you screw up, is my mistake, so don't worry," says. In London, Chow will be in the Olympic floor with another safe gymnast with skills and consistency to the challenge for the coveted Gold women's title. As a coach, it is the last professional validation to be searched as a mentor. But for Chow, is a validation of more deep, more staff. "If you have the talent and if you can, and work therefore can achieve its objectives," said. Although it seems impossible.