By Tim Nash
GREENSBORO — Alex Renkert was nine years old when he developed a rather serious problem in his elbow.
The injury interrupted his gymnastics activities. As it turned out, however, it was a blessing for Renkert, the 2017 U.S. double-mini trampoline champion and the 2017 World double-mini silver medalist.
“I started like most gymnasts do in regular gymnastics,” said Renkert, a 25-year-old native of Indianapolis now living in Columbus, Ohio. “The injury was pretty random, but it kept me out of the sport for two years. When I came back, I was not quite as fit as my friends in gymnastics were.
“I decided to try trampoline and tumbling because it wasn’t so much a strength sport, but more of an acrobatic sport. That’s what I enjoyed about gymnastics anyway, and I took to it right away. I’ve been climbing up the ladder ever since.”
Almost immediately, Renkert discovered the trampoline and tumbling were exactly what he wanted.
“I liked the acrobatic element of gymnastics before I had to stop,” he said. “So when I found an element where all you do is flip, it was a perfect fit for me. I definitely like the adrenaline aspect that comes with trampoline and tumbling.
“Artistic gymnastics is more about showing your strength. Trampoline and tumbling is like a total rush. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You are flying 10, 20, 30 feet in the air and somehow end up on your feet at the end. It’s a miracle and it’s wonderful.”
Renkert hopes that at the end of the week at the USA Gymnastics Championships, he has landed on his feet and taking home another title.
“I’m a performer, so I love having all eyes on me when I land that pass,” he said. “I do get a little bit nervous. I have taken steps to keep my head in line with what I need to accomplish, but I like the feeling of being nervous. I think it ends up boosting my confidence. I know that if I want to do well, I need to do it in front of all these people.”
Nationals, one of Renkert’s favorite times on the competition calendar, has improved over the years, he said.
“The venues didn’t always feel like a national event, but they have really grown it,” said Renkert. “With having all three disciplines here, the crowds are much larger, and you get that adrenaline rush.”
Renkert competes with Integrity Athletics, where he works full-time as the director of marketing. It’s not surprising that Renkert, who studied sports management in college, would pick a profession in athletics. He chose a career on the business side over coaching.
“I’ll coach clinics from time to time, but overall I’m not a very patient individual,” he said. “It takes a lot of patience to coach. As an athlete, I can take instruction from my coaches and make corrections. But I can see that it takes a lot of time and needs long explanations. That’s a challenge coaches are willing to take on. I’m much more comfortable on the business side than I am working with the athletes.”
Competition note: Renkert will compete in the men’s double-mini trampoline and tumbling finals tonight.