I Am Protective

At only 18 years old, Ruben Padilla (USA) is making a mark on the gymnastics world. Recently competing in Tokyo, Russia, Spain and Peru, Ruben is a promising athlete whose passion for his sport is contagious.

Ruben recently shared more with Protective Life about gymnastics, his plans for the future and why he loves his sport.

Q: How long have you been competing in gymnastics? What about the sport compelled you to try it out?

I have been competing in gymnastics for about 13 years. It started out as just a way for me to have fun and get rid of energy so I wasn’t crazy at home, but I then quickly grew to love it. In less than a year I was put on the team and started competing at the age of 6. From learning handstands and cartwheels to competing with full routines in just a few months was a crazy idea to me, but so glad that I was pushed into doing so.

Q: If you weren’t a gymnast, what other World Games sport would you compete in?

Considering how bad I am at anything that doesn’t involve flipping, I would say that I would want to compete in wakeboarding. It looks like a lot of fun, and I would love to try it.

Q: Can you describe gymnastics in five words?

The five words I would use to describe gymnastics are challenging, thrilling, exhilarating, fun and stressful.

Q: You recently competed at the 2019 World Championship in Tokyo. Where else have you competed?

I have been to many places for competitions. In 2019 I competed in Russia, Spain, Japan and Peru, but I have also competed in Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy and Bolivia.

Q: What about the Trampoline competition drew you to it?

One of the main things that caused me to switch from artistic gymnastics to trampoline was that it was just more fun to me. I enjoyed competing and training in trampoline a lot more. Trampoline was introduced at my gym as something fun to do on the side, and in my first year of competing in trampoline (in 2008 when I was 7), I had qualified to my first nationals and took home a gold, silver and bronze.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is winning the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships. Just from that one competition, I received a silver medal in the team competition, individual and all-around. To take home three silver medals at my second World Championships was an incredible feeling.

Congratulations to Ruben on being named January’s Athlete of the Month! We can wait to see what you accomplish in the future.

Read more about Ruben and previous Athlete of the Month honorees on The World Games website.

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