Senior gymnast competes nationally

Nick Busalacchi finds success and meaning in challenging competitions

(courtesy Nick Busalacchi)  Busalacchi competes at a meet on both the parallel bars and the rings. He has been competing in gymnastics for 13 years.
(courtesy Nick Busalacchi) Busalacchi competes at a meet on both the parallel bars and the rings. He has been competing in gymnastics for 13 years.

Nick Busalacchi, senior, has been competing in gymnastics for the last 13 years of his life. What started out as a way for him to get out his extra energy as a child has led him to national championships and success.

“I’ve always done [gymnastics] and it’s become everything,” Busalacchi said.

Busalacchi competes in all six gymnastic events, including floor exercise and parallel bars. Most athletes at his level compete in all six events, and specialize as they advance.

“I really like rings and vault. I’m not the best at them but I just like them,” Busalacchi said.

Busalacchi attended the Wisconsin Gymnastics Academy before switching to Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy during middle school.

“My [old] gym wasn’t as suited for high level gymnastics … the coaching wasn’t really there for higher levels,” Busalacchi said.

Changing gyms proved beneficial for Busalacchi: he qualified for all-around at regionals despite having broken his leg prior to the competition, and qualified for nationals in 2013.

“That was really big because it was my first year back from a broken leg,” Busalacchi said.

The training that Busalacchi completes is extensive: his team practices six times a week for three hours, and increases the number of practices during the summer. This includes stretching, strength and practice for specific events.

“It’s a pretty different lifestyle than most people are used to,” Busalacchi said. “My life is just school and gymnastics all the time.”

When he is not at the gym practicing or even teaching younger students gymnastic skills, Busalacchi enjoys hunting, shooting and fishing.

“I just like being outside,” Busalacchi said.

Busalacchi plans on attending college following high school, and hopes to follow a career in the military.

“I’ve always wanted serve the country,” Busalacchi said.

“You learn more in gymnastics than anything else,” Busalacchi said. “If you work hard in gymnastics you’ll get where you want to go.”

by Nathalie Bolduc

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