INDIANAPOLIS (July 21, 2022) – Kalon Ludvigson, the most decorated trampoline & tumbling athlete in USA Gymnastics history, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Robert Miller Spirit of the Flame Award. He will be honored August 20 during the 2022 USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Tampa, Fla.
Founded in 1987, the Robert Miller Spirit of the Flame Award recognizes individuals in the gymnastics world who demonstrate leadership, strength and determination in an extraordinary way.
“Learning that I was named as the 2022 Spirit of the Flame award recipient honestly brought tears to my eyes,” Ludvigson said. “Throughout my competitive career, I remember watching the Spirit of the Flame award presentation at national competitions and being so moved and inspired by the accomplishments, dedication, and perseverance the recipients demonstrated. I’m truly honored to be among such an esteemed group of individuals.”
Ludvigson was chosen for the award by the USA Gymnastics Athletes’ Council in recognition of his strength and determination to succeed following an injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“Despite facing enormous challenges, Kalon shows all gymnasts how to live with a spirit that cannot be broken,” Athletes’ Council Chair Jessica Renteria said. “The entire Athletes’ Council has been inspired by his story and perseverance, and it is with great pride that we can honor Kalon with this award.”
As an athlete, Ludvigson won eight consecutive U.S. tumbling titles, four double-mini titles and 20 medals in World championships and World Cup competition. The tumbling legend boasts 11 gold, nine silver, and four bronze medals in international competition, 17 of those being in tumbling. He set two world tumbling records, the first coming at the 2008 Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires. In 2011, Ludvigson broke his own record at the T&T World Cup in Odense, Denmark.
While hosting a camp in 2013, Ludvigson suffered a spinal cord injury during a tumbling pass that resulted in paralysis. He was 25 at the time of injury and was still among the best in the world. After spending four months in a rehabilitation center in Denver, Colo., he returned to Idaho State University to complete his studies. Ludvigson now holds a doctorate in pharmacology and is an inpatient clinical pharmacist at a hospital in Zanesville, Ohio, where he resides with his partner, Rob.
“For myself and many others in the trampoline & tumbling community, Kalon was the type of athlete that motivated you to work harder,” Athletes’ Council Vice-Chair Alex Renkert said. “He was fierce as a competitor and reliable as a friend. His accomplishments and dedication to the sport are extraordinary and his continued effort to evolve is a testament to the champion that he is.”
The Spirit of the Flame Award was renamed in 2011 in honor of gymnast and Staff Sargent Robert Miller, who received the Medal of Honor after saving the lives of fellow soldiers while serving in the war in Afghanistan. For more information on the award, please visit usagymlegacy.org.