Wiskus’ Olympic dreams hang in the balance amid pandemic

Prior to the cancelation of the season, Shane Wiskus was putting up top numbers for the Gophers and the U.S.

Gophers Junior Shane Wiskus performs a routine on the still rings at Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 7. The Gophers went on to a 398-375.55 victory over the Washington Huskies.

Parker Johnson

Gophers Junior Shane Wiskus performs a routine on the still rings at Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 7. The Gophers went on to a 398-375.55 victory over the Washington Huskies.

AJ Condon

In under a week, the collegiate gymnastics landscape has changed dramatically. With the rest of the season canceled due to the coronavirus, including the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships, many questions remain. 

Chief among them is what will become of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Thus far, there has been no decision on whether the Olympics, which are slated to start in late July, will take place. One Gophers gymnast, junior co-captain Shane Wiskus, will be keeping close attention. 

Throughout the Gophers’ season, Wiskus hasn’t been as involved in meets as usual, taking the extra time and rest to prepare for the Olympics. 

During the year, he’s competed in two different national competitions — the Winter Cup and the USA Gymnastics American Cup — in hopes of representing the United States. He also spent the summer working with the U.S. national team. Most recently, Wiskus completed his first international meet of the year on March 7 at the USA Gymnastics American Cup.

However, Wiskus will have to reevaluate his training plans as the Olympics inch closer.

As of now, the Big Ten has canceled practice until at least April 6 and will re-evaluate then. Wiskus will still be training but it is uncertain of what that will look like at the moment.

A look back at Wiskus’ junior season

After an impressive first two years, Wiskus continued to show his importance to the Gophers.

In the first home meet of the season against the Fighting Illini, Wiskus set his career-high on parallel bars and in all-around. He scored a 15.100 and 84.600 respectively that night. At the time, these were both the highest scores in the nation in those events.

In the team’s last meet of the season against Michigan, Wiskus set one last career-high on rings with a 14.450, beating out his past record by .100.

The road to the Olympics started with the Winter Cup, in which he and sophomore teammate Mike Moran competed together. It was his second appearance at this event.

Wiskus was able to retain his spot on the U.S. Senior National Team following his day one performance in Las Vegas. He finished second with a score 84.550, which was only behind two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak. 

While the Gophers’ men’s gymnastics team was enjoying another bye week, Wiskus travelled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to compete in the USA Gymnastics American Cup. In his first appearance at the event, Wiskus shined with a fourth place finish with a score of 82.797.

Despite his season ending for the Gophers, he may not be done before potentially competing at the Olympics. 

Despite the uncertainty, USA Gymnastics said plans remain in place for the International Gymnastics Federation’s World Cup on April 4-5 in Tokyo.