Urban Asian Profile: Raj Bhavsar Indian American Olympic Gymnast
With the excitement surrounding the London Olympics 2012, Urban Asian has been closely following each of the Olympics athletes, in particular those from our beloved country of India. Appreciating the positive impact that these South Asian Olympians have, Urban Asian interviewed one of the greatest South Asian Olympians ever, Raj Bhavsar, who won a Bronze Medal in Men’s Gymnastics at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In this uplifting Urban Asian Profile, Raj discusses his childhood start in gymnastics, the unbelievable effort and dedication it took to become one of the nation’s best gymnasts, being an Indian-American role model, and his aspirations in acting.
Raj’s gymnastic career includes being named the NCAA All-Around Champion in 2002, representing Team USA in the World Championships in 2001 and 2003 where they won Silver Medals both times, and representing Team USA in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 where they won a Bronze medal in the team competition.
Winning that Bronze medal made Raj only the third Indian-American ever to win a medal at the Olympics after Mohini Bhardwaj in Women’s Gymnastics at Athens 2004 and Alexi Grewal in Road Cycling at Los Angeles 1984.
Bhavsar is also the creator of two new gymnastics elements both named “The Bhavsar”. One is on the still rings involving a front lever start with movement into a final position called a Maltese and one on the parallel bars which is a tkatchev style release move starting on one end of the bars and finishing on the other.
It was evident from the first time meeting Raj that he is exceptionally dedicated to anything he pursues. One of his mottos that he lives by is:
SET YOUR BAR EXTREMELY EXTREMELY HIGH!
After retiring from competitive gymnastics, Raj joined Cirque Du Soleil performing in Los Angeles at the show Iris in 2011. He is currently involved in coaching gymnastics, public speaking, acting, and yoga sports.
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