Nathan DiMatteo '23 was introduced to the gymnastics world at a very early age. His mother, Paula, brought him to USA Gymnastics in Watertown, Connecticut when he was three years old, and there was no turning back.
"I really like the atmosphere of the gym," said Nate."Everyone is very nice and encouraging. Participating in gymnastics really pushed me out of my comfort zone."
A lover of tumbling and flipping at an early age, Nate was invited to participate on USA Gymnastics' team in the first grade. He has stuck with it ever since. Over the years, he worked very hard at this physically and mentally demanding sport. Currently, he is a level ten gymnast and recently, he received the nationally-recognized Academic All-American Recognition Award.
In addition to being a skillful and disciplined athlete, recipients of this award have to maintain high academic standards. As part of the application process, Nate had to submit essays and show his academic progress.
According to USA Gymnastics' website, "Recognizing and rewarding academic achievement in junior gymnasts is paramount to the success of the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Program. The Junior Program is designed to provide a training ground for the development of young athletes. While physical development is obviously important, the program must also stress development of values, morals and social skills, which will remain with these future citizens all their lives. Encouraging a high level of academic achievement in our young athletes is as important as encouraging their athletic achievement. The USA Gymnastics Men's Program has therefore established the following Academic All-American Recognition Award program to be presented annually at the Regional Championships."
"This whole experience has taught me a lot about hard work and perseverance," said Nate. "I know I have to push myself to be the best in everything I do. Nothing can be achieved without work."
"I find this amazing," said Paula, Nate's mother. "Gymnastics isn't an easy sport. I watch what all the gymnasts do across the tristate area. It is amazing what they do. I can't begin to describe what this has done for Nate socially and academically. He was a shy kid that wouldn't speak to anyone. Now, he goes in front of thousands of people and commits."