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Ludvigson Tumbles to Three World Cup Medals

By Luan Peszek
Photos By Volker Minkus

Kalon Ludvigson won a gold medal and two silvers at three World Cup competitions in Belgium, Poland and Germany over the last three weeks. He is the first U.S. men's tumbler to win a gold medal at a World Cup in 10 years. We caught up with Ludvigson when he returned from Germany and asked about his experiences. Here's what he had to say.

USA Gymnastics: How did it feel to win the gold medal in tumbling at the World Cup in Germany?

Kalon: It was amazing. Going into finals in third place, I had the chance to watch the final two competitors compete. My coach Justen and I were watching the scores flash on the score board, and I think Justen was more nervous than I was. It was a huge relief, and I had an overall feeling of satisfaction when I learned that I had won.

USA Gymnastics: How does it feel to know you are the first men's tumbler from the U.S. in 10 years to win a gold medal at World Cup?

Kalon: It's awesome to know that I'm competitive at the world level and not only fighting for medals, but GOLD medals.

USA Gymnastics: You also won silver medals at the World Cups in Belgium and Poland. Can you talk about each of these competitions?

Kalon: I was happy to win a silver medal in Belgium, but I wasn't happy that I lost by 0.1. I had some technical errors on my first of two passes which cost me. My final pass was the highest scoring pass of the entire competition, so without the mistake I could have won. It was bittersweet in Belgium.

My coach and I decided to be more conservative for the event in Poland. After the first pass in finals, I was in first place. After my second pass, which was lower in difficulty than normal, I dropped to second. My coach and I weren't thrilled about my placement, but it's still a World Cup silver medal.

USA Gymnastics: What were your tumbling passes?

Kalon: The two passes I competed in the Germany World Cup were Roundoff, full-in full-out straight, whip, flic flac, full-in straight, whip, flic flac, full-in double full-out straight (also called a Miller). My second pass was: Roundoff, full-in straight, whip, flic flac, full-in full-out straight, whip, flic flac, full-in full-out tuck.

USA Gymnastics: What was the best part of the trip?

Kalon: My favorite part, besides winning of course, was being with all of the athletes. I'm good friends with all of the American trampolinists who competed and I also have a really good friend from Great Britain named Kat. My favorite part of the trip was hanging out with my coach, the Americans, and Kat.

USA Gymnastics: What is your next goal?

Kalon: My next goal is to train hard and perform well at World Championships in November where I hope to come home with a medal.

USA Gymnastics: What is the best part of tumbling?

Kalon: The best part of tumbling is that the sport teaches athletes to push themselves and do things that others don't think are possible.

USA Gymnastics: What is the toughest skill you've ever learned?

Kalon: The biggest skill I've ever done is a triple twisting, triple back. It's called a full-full-full. I've never competed it, though.

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite skill to do in tumbling?

Kalon: My favorite skill is either a Miller (full-in double full-out) or a triple pike.

USA Gymnastics: Do you train on the trampoline for your tumbling skills?

Kalon: My coach has me do some drills on trampoline, but for the most part I don't do very much trampoline. I mostly use the rod floor, tumble track, or the floor exercise.

USA Gymnastics: Walk me through a normal day for you.

Kalon: I wake up at 7:30 a.m. and go for a mile run. I do morning training from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. After morning practice I relax and do homework. My second training begins at 4:00 p.m. and goes until 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., depending on how much my coach wants me to do. I condition for 30 minutes then run for 2 miles before dinner, and I go to sleep around 11:00 p.m.

USA Gymnastics: Are you going to school?

Kalon: Yes, I'm taking online classes from Idaho State University. I'm a pharmacy major.

Congratulations on your success and good luck at the World Championships.

Watch one of Ludvigson's passes from the 2009 Visa Championships