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Interview: Joseph Hagerty (USA)
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Joseph Hagerty

Although 26-year-old Joseph Hagerty has not competed at a World Championships, his upward surge in the American rankings this year have earned him a place on the U.S. team heading to the Olympic Games in August.

Hagerty was named to the U.S. Olympic team following a pair of top-three all-around finishes in the key American competitions of 2008. He placed third all-around and first on high bar at the U.S. (Visa) Championships in Houston in May; and second all-around, first on floor exercise and first on high bar at the U.S. Olympic Trials, held in Philadelphia in June.

Hagerty's previous best results were fourth all-around at the 2005 U.S. Championships, and third place with the U.S. team at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Born April 19, 1982, in Albuquerque, Hagerty trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He represents Team Chevron, and is coached by Vitaly Marinitch and Alexander Shchennikov.

In this IG Online interview, Hagerty details the practical approach he is taking to his Olympic debut.

IG: Going into Trials, what did you consider to be the positive factors, as well as negative factors, in your candidacy for a spot on the Olympic team?

JH: Going into trials I thought going 12 for 12 and being in the top five on three events, and taking third in the all-around (at the Visa/U.S. Championships), were my positive factors. Winning high bar (at USAs) always helps. The negative was being so weak on pommels and rings.

IG: Right after your last routine at the trials, how realistic did you think your chances were to be put on the team?

JH: Finishing second in points and winning high bar and floor, I thought my chances were pretty good.

IG: How did you pass the time between the end of the trials and the team announcement?

JH: I went out to dinner with my family and hung out with friends, and played Final Fantasy II, an online game I play a lot.

IG: As an all-arounder, how much do you think the team format, and especially the team selection process, hurts you?

JH: Well, I don't really consider myself as an all-arounder, because I'm strong on four events and really weak on two. I kind of do horse and rings just to do them.

IG: What are your feelings on the team selection process in general?

JH: I don't really have an opinion on the selection process. I just like to do gymnastics and let the cards play, and hopefully I (will) have done enough to be selected.

IG: What are your personal expectations for Beijing?

Joseph Hagerty

JH: My expectations are to do what I do best — go out there and do my routines the best that I can do them.

IG: How has the level of training intensity changed, from USAs to Trials, and in the training period from now till Beijing?

JH: It has not changed at all. I'm just going to consider this like any other competition and train as hard as I can.

IG: The other men on the team have World Championships and/or Olympic experience. How are you preparing to cope with the Olympic experience?

JH: I have lots of experience in competitions like Pan Am Games and World Cups, so I'm just going to treat this as nothing special, even though it's the biggest meet of my life! I like to think of it as me doing just one more routine that I have done 1,000 times. It should not matter where (I do it).

IG: Now that you have had a little time to bond with your Olympic teammates, how would you describe them?

JH: I have known these guys for so long, I consider everyone of them like a brother.

IG: How much further do you think you can progress, even if the Beijing Olympics was your ultimate goal?

JH: I love to be challenged, so I think I could progress far enough to get any goal accomplished.

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