Former Team USA coach inspires Turner in Tucson
Yoichi Tomita Turner has been training in Tucson at Gymnastics World for more than 40 years in Tucson.
Kerri Strug, the Tucsonan who became famous for her jump at the 1996 Olympics, was one of the many people he has worked with over the years.
Tomita was supposed to be in Tokyo for all of the games with Team USA, but was only allowed to be there before the competitions. Just back from his trip, he continues his mission to coach the next generation of gymnasts in the region.
He is currently preparing 17-year-old Adriel Izai Perales Valencia for a place in the 2024 Olympics.
“It’s a boy’s dream to become almost a man’s job,” said Valencia of the idea of seeing the Olympics, knowing that he could be there in four years.
For Tomita, however, it’s more than just the competitions for the athletes he works with.
“I think gymnastics can really add to a person’s growth,” said Tomita. “Not just flips and handstands. You learn to persevere, to stand up when you’ve failed, and that’s part of the things gymnastics can teach you.”
Growth is the most important thing for him, he said.
“It is so rewarding to see how the children are not only successful in gymnastics but also in life,” said Tomita.
Tomita said he focused on the athlete as both a gymnast and a person.
Many of the gymnasts in Gymnastics World look up to the members of Team USA, especially Simone Biles.
Tomita said he wishes her the best after retiring from all-around competition.
“The gymnasts are under a lot of pressure,” said Tomita.
More information about the courses at Gymnastics World can be found here