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IG Online Interview: Jeremy Bartholomeusz (Canada)
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After twice landing on the medal podium with Japanese star Kenzo Shirai at the Toyota Cup in December, Jeremy Bartholomeusz of Canada is ready to reach new global goals in 2018. Pictured: Bartholomeusz and coach David Kikuchi at the Halifax ALTA club in Nova Scotia

After twice landing on the medal podium with Japanese star Kenzo Shirai at the Toyota Cup in December, Jeremy Bartholomeusz of Canada is ready to reach new global goals in 2018.

Bartholomeusz' international career might just be starting, but his background covers continents. He was born in Dubai on April 19, 1997, to an Indian mother and Sri Lankan father of Dutch Burgher descent. His family moved to Canada in 1999 "to give my brother and me more opportunities and to experience a different part of the world," he says.

In September 2015, Bartholomeusz moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend Dalhousie University. He has since been training at the Halifax ALTA club under two-time Olympian David Kikuchi and his father, Tak Kikuchi. "From time to time, though, I'll get some help from a fellow coach at our gym, Vaughn Arthur," says Bartholomeusz, a neuroscience major. "In terms of who coaches me where, both Dave and Tak coach me on all the events."

Bartholomeusz made his FIG World Challenge Cup debut last May in Koper, Slovenia, where he finished eighth on vault. His ended 2017 with a strong showing at the Toyota Cup in Japan in December, where he won bronze medals on floor exercise and vault. Shirai, the 2017 world champion on floor exercise and vault, placed first on both events in Toyota.

In this IG Online interview, Bartholomeusz reflects on his late-2017 international breakthrough and forecasts his plans for continued success from now until the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.



Jeremy Bartholomeusz training on rings at Halifax ALTA

IG: Medals on floor and vault in Toyota was a great way to end your year, especially twice sharing the medal podium as Kenzo Shirai. You did not have as much success earlier in the year, at the Canadian championships or the World Challenge Cup of Koper. To what do you attribute your big successes in Toyota?

JB: It was absolutely thrilling to be on the same podium as the Kenzo. I would definitely say that I felt more confident with my routines going into Toyota Cup than Koper or nationals. Koper was my first Challenge Cup, and competing with such a high-caliber group of gymnasts definitely added some pressure. I feel having had the experience competing against some of the world's best in Koper, and Canada's best at the National Championships; both really prepared me for Toyota.

IG: As for Shirai, what do you think of your or anyone's chances to challenge him for gold, especially on floor? What will it take?

JB: This is definitely a tough one. Having the opportunity to have watched Kenzo compete live at the world championships in Montreal, as a spectator, and then again at Toyota Cup, as a competitor, was unreal. Going into Toyota, I was more focused on hitting my routines and building up my consistency for the upcoming competitive season. Just to compete against Shirai was an absolute privilege, but to have made it onto the same podium as him is something I didn't see coming. It's tough to say if I think anyone can challenge him for gold at this point in time. He really has set the bar quite high for those looking to challenge him, but I think having an athlete like Kenzo will inspire and motivate others around the world to strive for more.

IG: At the 2017 Canadian Championships you tied for ninth place all-around, and then you had the individual breakout at the end of the year in Japan. For 2018 and heading toward Tokyo in 2020, what plans do you have for remaining an all-arounder, as opposed to sticking with your best events?

JB: At the moment, I'm still planning to continue as an all-around competitor. My main focus for this year has been to increase my difficulty everywhere, something I know I need to do if I wanted to still contend nationally and internationally. I love training all six events. I find it keeps things fresh and keeps me motivated. There are always days where training for my better events isn't going as well as I would want, so having the option to just step back and focus my effort on other events or weaker areas is super helpful.

IG: Neuroscience is an impressive major. What do you enjoy about it, and what do you plan to do with it?

JB: I love every aspect of neuroscience. Exploring the different dimensions of the human brain, learning about how it operates at the physical level, and how this manifests into human perception is something I've been interested in since I can remember. At the moment, I'm just taking it year by year, hoping to finish my undergraduate degree in the next two to three years. I have definitely considered medical school, but I think I'd like to do my Master's first before I pursue medicine. But who knows, I change my mind every week, so I guess we'll see where I am in five years!

IG: This year the competition will be tightening up, not only in Canada, but among all of the teams who are trying to qualify for Tokyo. How do you plan to not only stay on pace, but boost your program in order to stay near the top in Canada and eventually get to Tokyo?

JB: My biggest focus for this upcoming season is to up my difficulty as an all-around competitor, while also maintaining good execution. All my routines this year are new for me, so the main goal is to increase my consistency throughout the competitive season. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some more international exposure this season, something I think would really help me to stay a contender in Canada and potentially internationally as well. At this point, I'm just taking things year by year, trying to maximize and make the best of every competitive season.

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