Alternate on the bronze medal-winning U.S. team at the world championships in Nanning in October and guest competitor for the German club KTV Straubenhardt that placed second at last weekend’s Bundesliga finals, U.S. gymnast Paul Ruggeri III told IG he is eager to continue his competitive momentum in 2015.
“I don't really think that worlds could have gone much better,” said Ruggeri, who turned 26 on November 12. “The team hit 18 out of 18 (routines) with no falls, and that is a huge feat in itself. Sure there were some uncharacteristic errors, but for those to have been minor and not major falls was such a huge accomplishment. I am excited to see this group of athletes push towards next year's worlds.”
Ruggeri said he enjoyed competing for KTV Straubenhardt after German gymnast Lukas Dauser encouraged him to do so prior to the Joaquim Blume Memorial in Barcelona, in which Ruggeri competed two weeks ago.
“KTV Straubenhardt was looking for an athlete to help out on floor, vault and high bar, to complement (Uzbekistan gymnast and KTV Straubenhardt guest competitor) Anton Fokin's strengths,” Ruggeri said. “It just happened that Lukas sent me a brief message shortly before leaving for Barcelona. I have seen and become friends with Lukas and a few of the other boys from the team, so it was awesome to compete on the same team as them.”
Ruggeri said improvements on a few apparatuses should help him make the starting lineup for the U.S. team at the 2015 worlds in Glasgow.
“In order for me to break onto the team I need to upgrade my strengths just a little bit more and gain some experience with the new routines,” Ruggeri said. “Pommel and rings can also get better, but I have been performing pretty poorly on parallel bars, which could also become one of my strengths. I need a little bit more confidence with that set because it is pretty difficult for me.”
Ruggeri plans to take a break for the U.S. national holiday of Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, but he will be spending at least part of the holiday weekend in the gym.
“I will be with my family in upstate New York and then coaching at the Thanksgiving clinic at International Gymnastics Camp,” he said. “I cannot wait to see my own family and those in the IGC community on the East Coast.”
After a strenuous competition year, Ruggeri said he intends to enjoy a period of relative relaxation through December.
“Till the end of the year, I will be training mostly skills and recovering,” Ruggeri told IG. “My body needs a break big time, and with me getting older, my body needs the rest so I can push for the entirety of next year!”