By Tamas Mondovics
It was a little more than two years ago and only after being urged by his parents, Russell and Mary Prince, to burn off some energy that then eight-year-old FishHawk area resident, Colby Prince, began recreational gymnastics.
Since then, Colby, now 10, has not only stuck with the sport, but is now pursuing it as if he has found his calling, confirming it by sweeping the competition near and far, one event at a time. “Mary forced him to go and he cried that his mom was making him do a girls sport,” Russell said, adding that after the very first class his son was hooked, which led to a family decision a year ago to put Colby in competitive gymnastics and on the road of gymnastics success.
Within a year, Colby raked in one win after another, while putting in five to six hours a week of home workout routine as a Stowers Elementary School fourth grade student as well as training 20 hours a week at The South Florida Gymnastics in Bradenton, under owner and former Olympic and college Division 1 Coach, Steve Nunno. On the boys level four and five teams, the gym boasts of placing first and claiming more than eight State All-Around Champions, as well as seven regional qualifiers.
Under the direction of his primary coaches, Jason Collins and Steven Schmerber, Colby recently won the all-around title in his age group at the Gasparilla in St. Petersburg with the highest overall men’s score of any age group, winning individual titles in Floor, Parallel Bars, High Bar and Rings events, while placing second on Pommel Horse and fourth on Vault.
He also went on winning the State All Around title in his group and individual titles in Floor, High Bar, Vault and Rings, as well as placing second in Parallel Bars, and third in Pommel Horse at the USAG State Gymnastics meet in Clearwater.
“I love how many different motions, skills and activities that you get to learn,” Colby said. “It is amazing how fast you spin and flip and how every skill we learn turns into a more complicated and higher level skill.” While floor exercises are his favorite event, he is not without things to work on.
“Pommel horse is my least favorite event and probably the one I am working the hardest on,” he said, but quickly added, “It’s only a matter of time until I defeat it.” Success, never comes without a price, something Colby is learning, which he emphasized as his least favorite thing about gymnastics, when he said, “The constant driving to practice, doing homework in the car and rips and blisters on my hands. Oh yeah, and Pommel Horse.”
All of that, however, is not enough to stop this young gymnast to dream big while working hard to reach his goals, including to become a Division 1 college gymnast at Stanford, Oklahoma or Michigan.
“I really would love to compete against the toughest of the toughest gymnasts in both national and international competitions,” he said, adding “I would love to go to the Olympics.”
For more information about South Florida Gymnastics, visit www.sfgymcheer.com.