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Photo of Jordan King. // Photo courtesy of Jordan King/UCalgary Dinos.

U of C student Jordan King making an impact in gymnastics

By Rodrigo Verney, February 17 2021

Jordan King is a former competitive artistic gymnast, specifically a floor and vault specialist. A very determined student, King started at Bishop Carroll High School, where he first began to develop his interest in becoming a university athlete. He is now studying in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.

Currently in his fourth year, King will have graduated by 2022, due to his commitment to the Varsity Gymnastics Club, formerly known as the University of Calgary Gymnastics Club.

King always had a will to help others. He aspires to pursue that dream even further by getting into medical school to achieve his final goal of getting into physiatry. His determination to become a licensed physiatrist translated well to the mat, where he developed a competitive drive to always perfect his performance no matter the challenge. After he found himself in the sport, it was easy to put his efforts towards improving his skills. It doesn’t come as a surprise that his work ethic is his strength. As he puts it — focus, determination and dedication make up his mindset whenever he has to compete. These are values that no amount of injuries could ever take away.

Given the current circumstances, King was put in a position where he had to retire from competitive gymnastics. After recovering from a shoulder surgery in December of 2019, he was ready to head back into training at the beginning of April, following a period of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to begin another chapter of his career due to how his restart intertwined with the beginning of the pandemic. 

Although his career was cut short, it wasn’t the end of his love for the sport. King now coaches first-level gymnastics kids. He teaches them the basics of what he learned from his competitive years and from his personal philosophy. King set up zoom classes to ensure they are following the proper form and staying in shape, displaying great adaptability in face of new adversity. This skill doesn’t come as a surprise. After witnessing many budget cuts disfavoring the Varsity Gymnastics Club, King had to face many obstacles that stood between him and his sport. Even having to go as far as having to find another arena to pursue his passion, due to the prioritization of the venue for the Varsity teams once they returned to practice.

King was part of team Alberta since he was eleven years old. King has participated in senior level gymnastics for the last three years and participated in many competitions throughout his life. Most recently, he has been part of three major gymnastics contests: two Elite Canada (2018, 2019), and one Sun Devil Classic also in 2019, where they faced off against Arizona State University, University of Washington and Southern California United. He ranked second among all of them in his first year. In his second year competing in the senior level, they ranked third. 

King’s skill and focus granted him good performances in all of these competitions. Yet, he attributes his best scores to Elite Canada 2019, where he scored 13.350 points on floor placing third and 13.200 points on Vault placing 10th, finishing with an impressive all-round score of 26.550 points. Jordan praises consistency, his choice for a sport that requires such high levels of perfection, is not coincidental. 

King had to face adversities most athletes haven’t gone through. Ever since entering the gymnastics club, Jordan had to carry the weight of gymnastics not being considered a varsity sport. This status led to many budget cuts and irregular training hours that constantly jeopardized the time that he could dedicate to his craft. There were moments in which he had to abstain from practice to study, as the club status that gymnastics have didn’t grant it exclusive hours to practice. 

Conscious return to training has proven a challenge even bigger that previously thought, given the exclusivity to equipment and location that varsity teams have. Jordan had to look for another center to be able to properly teach his sport. However, even with the burden of training amidst such disadvantages, King made sure to properly follow the Alberta guidelines to return to training protocol, showing his commitment with not only his sport, but his peers in such a delicate time. 

When it comes to his education, King puts his academics first. His focus and perseverance extends way beyond the mat, as in situations where he needed to choose between working on his performance or studying, Jordan would always choose the latter. Opting to train before or, even, after everyone else. 

He developed a fascination for physiatry after working as a respite worker. Acknowledging the lack of attention this area suffers, King chose to make it his mission to distribute his focus and will into a perfect balance between teaching his squad of young gymnasts and keeping up with his education. 

King sees himself as a hard-working student. He’s devoted to having good grades given the difficulty of kinesiology. He understands that he has to concentrate his efforts on learning if he wants to enter med school. But, he remains devoted to his athletes, putting his time management skills to work, another important attribute that he developed in athletics.

Jordan King has been proving his resilience and love for the sport since the beginning of his career. Facing adversities beyond his control that not only impacted his performance as a player, but as a student. Truly, the real measure of an athlete is not what he does when the stakes are at its lowest, but when the weight of the world hangs on his shoulders. Through conflicting training times to a global pandemic, King will not let the misadventures of the future cloud his determination and admiration for the sport. 

Editors Note: A previous version of this article stated listed, in one sentence, that King wanted to pursue physiotherapy. This typo has been changed to reflect physiatry.

Video of Jordan King performing a floor routine. // Video courtesy of Jordan King.

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