Injury brings end to Olympic dream for Van Wicklen of Magnolia

ST. LOUIS – An injury brings an end to an Olympic dream for one Houston area athlete on night one of the U.S. Olympic Trials for gymnastics. The men were up first Thursday evening and taking center stage were two of the three male athletes from the Houston area.

Ian Gunther from Westside High School and Matt Wenske of Jersey Village competed in the first six routines of the contest. The vault, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, high bar, floor exercise also were featured.

But for Magnolia’s Colin Van Wicklen -- his run for a chance at gold has come to an end in 2021. Van Wicklen suffered an injury in warmups and has withdrawn from the competition. KPRC 2′s Keith Garvin spoke to Van Wicklen’s family who said he and they are devastated.

That gymnastics is hard on the body is no secret and these young athletes have been competing almost their entire lives.

“You can’t be successful without being there at the practice,” said Ian Gunther’s mother Dawn Gunther.

Dawn Gunther said her 21-year-old son has been training for all but three of his years of life. Parents said to raise an elite athlete takes time, dedication, & a proper diet.

“His diet is exceptionally important so you can’t just run through McDonald’s,” said Dawn Gunther. “You have to fix healthy food at home, preferably organic.”

Parents also say that providing emotional stability is also a key component.

“You’ve got to be there when they do well,” said Colin Van Wicklen’s father Eddie. “You’ve got to be there when they don’t do well and you’ve got to support them emotionally.”

After Day 1 of the Trials results for the men, Ian Gunther of Houston sits in 11th place. Matt Wenske from Jersey Village High School is ranked 15th.

Spring’s Simone Biles and the women take the floor Friday. Stay tuned to KPRC’s continued coverage from St. Louis.

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