Beloit College Magazine

Spring 2012 (March 20, 2012 at 12:00 am)

Before med school, the Olympics beckon

March 20, 2012 at 12:00 am
By Hilary Dickinson

Mike Devine’10 is heading off to medical school this fall, but before that he has something else in mind. He wants to compete in the Summer Olympics.

Mike Devine Olympics Trampoline 

The 24-year-old Winnebago, Ill., native is training for the trampoline competition scheduled for Aug. 3-4 during the London 2012 Games. Making its Olympic debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, the sport involves gymnasts performing acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline.

Devine expects to find out in July if he will be chosen to represent the United States in trampoline. In order to win that coveted spot, he will be competing in three trials taking place this spring.

“I’m just trying to enjoy the ride,” says Devine. “I’m going to enjoy the process, have fun, and do my best. I’ve had a great career, and I’m taking it one day at a time.”

The USA Gymnastics Team qualified for the Olympics after a test event held in London in January. There, eight countries, including the United States, competed for seven spots. (Devine traveled to London as an alternate with two fellow members, but did not compete.) The U.S. team was eligible to compete in the test event because it placed in the top 30 in last year’s world championship.

Devine is cautiously optimistic about his Olympic chances. “It’ll come down to who does the best in the trials.”

Devine’s interest in the trampoline began at the age of 7 when his mother enrolled him in classes at J & J Trampoline and Tumbling in Pecatonica, Ill. Though he didn’t plan to become a national athlete, he quickly realized he had a knack for the sport. At the age of 12, Devine joined the junior USA Gymnastics Trampoline & Tumbling National Team. He was named to the senior national team at 17, one of just six men and the only one from the Midwest.

He has competed in several world cups and world championships and along the way has collected such accolades as the gold medal for synchronized trampoline at last year’s national competition where he also won the bronze medal in the individual competition.

Devine’s favorite part about trampoline is the opportunity to travel around the world for competitions. He’s been to Japan, Germany, Argentina, and Russia, and he took Russian courses at Beloit to better communicate with members from other teams.

“He knew he would need this language, and what impressed me about him from the very beginning was the seriousness he had for everything he did,” says Olga Ogurtsova, associate professor of Russian at Beloit.

Despite training for two hours a day, six days a week, participating in international competitions, and suffering from jet lag, Devine’s homework was always done with no excuses, says Ogurtsova. In fact, when other students in her 8:45 a.m. class were groggy, he was wide awake and had already trained for two hours.

The ability to commute to his Pecatonica gym was one of the reasons Devine, who received an academic scholarship from the USA Gymnastics, chose to attend Beloit to study biochemistry.

“Mike knows about hard work, training, and endurance,” says Chemistry Professor Laura Parmentier, adding that he was on the dean’s list every semester. “He knows about dedication and commitment.”

Devine hasn’t yet picked the medical school he will attend this fall, but meanwhile, he hasn’t forgotten the value of his Beloit education.

“You can really pursue anything you want from Beloit College,” he says. “As long as you’re organized and passionate, you can do a lot of great things there.”

See Mike Devine’10 demonstrate his trampoline moves for videographer/photographer Trevor Johnson’08, whose voice can be heard off-camera. Mike is shown at his gym, J & J Trampoline and Tumbling, in Pecatonica, Ill.  

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