Senior gymnast Todd Guilbeau worked this summer to turn his temper into a positive energy when he

Anthony Maggio

There comes a time in the career of any athlete when an opponent arises who seems unbeatable. There is no way around this opponent, leaving the athlete to overcome this hurdle by facing it head on.

For Minnesota gymnast Todd Guilbeau, this opponent has turned out to be himself.

“He’s known for his temper a little bit, he gets pretty upset if he’s not doing what he thinks he’s capable of doing,” assistant coach Thom Glielmi said. “That is probably the one thing he’s got to work on the most as far as his training – to use his energy in a positive way.”

Guilbeau, a native of Houston, came to the University as one of the most recruited athletes in his sport. Since then, he has worked hard to stay competitive. His sometimes negative mentality, however, has proven to be a thorn in his side.

“He had a year where he was really struggling with some stuff and it seemed to escalate to the point where he was so frustrated that his temper got the best of him in his workouts,” Glielmi said. “He wasn’t as productive as he should have been because he would get so angry.”

Guilbeau, now preparing for his senior season, recalled one Big Ten meet where he let his mind get the best of him.

“I think it was a year ago at Ohio State,” Guilbeau said. “I started off the meet pretty bad; I fell off the pommel horse. Then I just couldn’t get it back. I don’t know what happened; I didn’t hit even one event. It just seemed like everything was going wrong that particular day.”

His coaches feel Guilbeau has been his own worst enemy in the past but hope he is turning a corner.

Guilbeau also feels he has matured over the past few seasons from a hot-tempered gymnast to one who can use a subpar performance as a learning experience.

“Now I move on to the next event and don’t trash the workout,” Guilbeau said. “When you give up and you let the bad workout get the best of you, then you’re not getting any better.”

Guilbeau has worked methodically on his routine this summer. Last weekend, he competed for a chance to participate in nationals later this summer. Though he was in the hunt until his final routine, Guilbeau fell just short.

Although he did not qualify for nationals, Guilbeau took some positives away from the meet, namely his ability to finish strong despite two disappointing routines.

“I hit my first two events, then I went to my third event and I missed it,” Guilbeau said. “I tried to put it behind me and move on to my next event, and for the most part I did, but something happened on that event.”

“Then I said, ‘It’s not over yet,’ because I had two events left, and so I put those events behind me and I concentrated on my last two events and I hit them.”

Head coach Fred Roethlisberger hopes that Guilbeau can continue to make a trend of overcoming his mistakes.

“He’s been practicing hard now. Hopefully he can start getting more confident and get more pride in what he’s doing,” Roethlisberger said.

Maintaining focus and composure could vault Guilbeau to the first championship meet of his college career.

“It’s really frustrating because I’ve made championships before,” Guilbeau said. “But since I’ve been in Minnesota, I haven’t made one.”

Guilbeau will spend the rest of his summer training for his final season in hopes of being a solid contributor on a consistent basis, something his coaches would also like to see.

“We’re going to have to wait and see,” Roethlisberger said. “What he does this summer will have a lot to do with it. He’s had some problems in hitting routines, but I’m optimistic.”

Optimism, as Guilbeau is discovering, is key in defeating an unbeatable opponent.

 

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