After six U.S. trampoline titles, five synchro U.S. crowns, six World Championships and one Olympic Games, Steven Gluckstein will now assume a new role: coach. The 2012 Olympian announced today that he is retiring from the sport as an athlete and has accepted a position with USA Gymnastics as the Junior National Trampoline Team Head Coach.
“I had always imagined retirement after 2016. It was kind of a planned thing,” Gluckstein, who competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, told USA Gymnastics. “I was contemplating if I should jump or not. It was a pretty difficult decision, and I was really hoping there would be some sign to push me one way or the other.
“When this position opened up, it was clear to me that this is what I really want to do and put my energy towards,” said Gluckstein of the newly created position within USA Gymnastics’ trampoline program.
As junior national trampoline Coach, Gluckstein will create the training and competition plans for the Junior Olympic Trampoline Program, as well as communicate with U.S. Junior National Team athletes and their personal coaches to help set training goals and expectations for camps. Gluckstein, as the U.S. Junior National Trampoline Team coach, will serve as the lead coach at the Elite Development Program camps, foreign exchange camps, the World Age Group Competitions and the Youth Olympic Games.
“I’ve been coaching for the past 13 years, and it’s really where my passion is,” said Gluckstein.
Gluckstein believes his experience competing on the world stage – and witnessing what athletes and coaches from other top nations are doing – will be one of his biggest assets for Team USA, along with helping athletes find the motivation that helped him to compete at the top of his sport.
“I pride myself in being a pretty good motivator,” said Gluckstein, who trained at Elite Trampoline Academy under Tatiana Kovaleva. “So (by) sharing experiences and how I’ve personally dealt with getting to that level and competing at that level with the juniors, they already will be prepared and have a good understanding about it before they even reach that level.”
Though the final years of Gluckstein’s competitive career were hampered by injury – he missed the 2014 World Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla., due to an arm injury and had meniscus surgery after competing at the 2015 World Championships in Odense, Denmark – the Atlantic Highlands, N.J., native refuses to make excuses.
“After missing out on the 2014 Worlds because of my arm, I kind of started 2015 a little behind but I progressed pretty quickly,” Gluckstein recalled. “I went and surpassed the point of where I was previously. So in hindsight, the injury almost helped me.”
Indeed. Gluckstein went on to compete at the 2015 Pan American Games that summer, taking the silver medal. It’s an accomplishment he calls one of the “highlights of 2015.”
Of his 2016 run, Gluckstein says, “After I was a few points behind Logan after the second Olympic trial, I had catching up to do just like after my injuries. And that’s a position I really like to be in because I strive for that hard work, that extra push.
“I was really hoping to win what was possibly my last national championships,” said Gluckstein. “And I ended up winning, so I’m very excited to go out that way.”
Gluckstein won his sixth U.S. trampoline title in June at the USA Gymnastics Championships in Providence, R.I., and was named Team USA’s replacement athlete for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Also, Gluckstein was the first man (along with Logan Dooley) to win the synchronized trampoline World Cup series title in 2010.
As one of the most successful trampoline athletes for the United States, Gluckstein, brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for Team USA to his new position.
“I’m really excited to create a culture, an atmosphere, of a team that will go out and compete – not against each other but rather against the world,” Gluckstein said, “and help build a structure where we can not only better one athlete but rather the team and the country as a whole.”