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Catching up with Paul Ruggeri

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Video: USA Gymnastics
For more videos of the 2013 Winter Cup, click here.

Las Vegas,NV– Paul Ruggeri has been shakin’ it.

Since GymCastic last spoke with Paul, he has uploaded a reel to Respect My Step, auditioned for Spiderman the Musical, and booked a couple dance jobs through his agency, Clear Talent Group in New York.

On top of that, there are practices, competitions, and working for IGC (International Gymnastics Camp). Paul might be one of the busiest members of the Senior National Team, but he doesn’t complain about it. “I’m just trying to keep everything open and have fun doing it,” Paul said.

Though Paul is dabbling in other areas of life, it is clear that gymnastics continues to be his main focus, and his time in the gym has paid off. Over the weekend, he accomplished one of his goals for 2013: he  was renamed to the U.S. Senior National Team. When asked how it felt to be a part of the National Team again, he said, “It’s a relief. I’m just glad I was able to come here and defend my spot.”

He then added, “I can’t wait to see everybody at camp and hopefully get an assignment soon.”

In his quest to be named to the Senior National Team and to be considered for international assignments, Paul has upgraded his routines. His high bar routine now features German giants, which he added in order to avoid angle deductions, and a Kolman.

The full-twisting double back release is still new for him. During prelims, Paul was tentative. “I wanted to make sure that I caught the bar, so I put it really close, and I ended up almost eating my face,” he said with a nervous laugh. Two days later, though, the skill was much improved, which should make him feel more comfortable in future competitions.

High bar, of course, is one of Paul’s better events, but from the looks of it, Paul is improving on his weaker events as well. His difficulty score on pommel horse is up from a 4.9 to a 5.6, and his rings now includes more strength elements, which added four tenths to his difficulty score.

Unfortunately, in an effort to improve his rings score, Paul removed his Deltchev–the skill that made gymnastics fans ooh and aah last year at Olympic Trials. Nevertheless, Paul continues to be a crowd favorite. Before every routine, moms, dads, and young children were yelling, “C’mon, Paul!” And as Paul and I were sitting down for our interview, a young gymnast snuck onto the gymnasium floor–just so that he could get Paul’s autograph.

Paul, being the kindhearted man that he is and a great ambassador for the sport, grabbed the Sharpie and willingly signed the young boy’s competition number.

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