SEBRING – Through hard work, dedication, focus and with a bounce in his step, Reed Forsee is tumbling his way towards international recognition.
Forsee excels in the relatively unheralded sports of trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics, including tumbling, and recently competed the “Stars and Stripes Cup” in Daytona Beach.
Held from May 9 to May 11 in the Daytona Beach Ocean Center, Forsee, 12, competed to qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in August in Nanjing, China. The Stars and Stripes Cup was held in conjunction with the 2014 Junior Pan Am Championships and featured international athletes from the Americas, such as the Gluckstein brothers of Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S. trampoline champions, competing in trampoline and tumbling.
At the three-day competition, Forsee earned a gold medal in the double-mini trampoline competition, beating out seven competitors.
He narrowly missed getting a medal in tumbling, placing fourth, and came in 10th in trampoline.
A double-mini trampoline is smaller than a regulation competition trampoline, has sloped end and a flat bed. The gymnasts run up and jump onto the sloped end and then jump onto the flat part before dismounting onto a mat. Skills are performed during the jumps or as they dismount.
“It’s my best event. That’s the one I have the highest skills in and do best in it because it’s quick and easy; it’s just two or three skills you have to. I like tumbling, though,” said Reed, who is going into the seventh-grade at Bok Academy in Lake Wales.
Reed has built his trampoline and tumbling skill set up quickly, said one of his coaches at Elite World Gymnastics, Lakeland, where Reed trains for six hours a week in the summer and two and a half during the school year.
On the Elite team, there are three members of the Team USA Trampoline & Tumbling.
As he sat Tuesday with his mother. Misty, and brother, Brock, 10, in the dentist office of his father, Christopher Forsee, Reed said he is currently rated a Level 9 out of 10, which qualified him for the Junior Pan Am Championship, based on scores from other meets.
July 15 to July 19, he placed second on the double-mini trampoline in the USA Gymanastics Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
However, Reed has not yet made it to Team USA, the National Trampoline and Tumbling Team or “Elite” status yet and is working to accomplish that goal.
Queen Washington, 18, a Senior Elite Level team member, said with his determination and drive it wouldn’t surprise her if Reed made it to the Olympics.
“He’s very uplifting to the team. When it comes to mistakes, he takes criticism very well,” she said. “He uses different methods to help himself and uses the advice his teammates and coaches give him.”
Andrew Muzzarelli, head coach and co-owner of Elite World Gymnastics, said Reed is driven to excel and has the “best personality.” He said he strives to constantly improve and genuinely enjoys practice and competitions.
Muzzarelli, who tried out for the U.S. Olympic team and competed on the double-mini trampoline for 17 years, said Reed doesn’t want to leave practices.
“It’s amazing to see a kid like that, to have that kind of passion for the sport,” he said.
The Elite season runs from January to July and Reed said his goal is to make the Elite Status by March 2015 and eventually make it to the Olympics for trampoline, the only one of the three events currently an Olympic sport.
Reed said he also enjoys competitive cheerleading and one day hopes to attend the University of Kentucky to become a dentist or veterinarian. Until then, his focus is on the mats and springs.
“I get nervous on the trampoline. I take it seriously, but it’s also a lot of fun and, hopefully, it will take me to getting on Team USA,” he said.