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Q&A with Hagerty on '09 Winter Cup victory, upcoming Tyson American Cup
posted on 02/11/2009

Joey Hagerty
© FIG Photo
2008 Olympic team bronze-medalist Joey Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M., is one of four U.S. gymnasts competing in the 2009 Tyson American Cup, Feb. 21, at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Hagerty recently won his first Winter Cup Challenge all-around title on Feb. 7, and USA Gymnastics spoke with Hagerty after his Winter Cup Challenge victory. Here’s a quick Q & A about the competition and his future goals.


USA Gymnastics: How did it feel to win the Winter Cup Challenge all-around title?
Joey: It felt really good. This was my first competition since coming back from the Olympics so I didn’t know what to expect. I just took it one routine at a time and it all worked out. I made all of my routines. I hope to fix a few things and improve upon my sets but overall I was pleased with everything. I’ve only been doing routines for about a month – we started routines right after the holidays so I was very happy with how well it went.

USA Gymnastics: Have you changed any of your routines since the Games?
Joey: I changed around my floor routine a little bit, but the rest of the routines were the same. The Code of Points changed but the changes didn’t really affect my routines too much – just on floor. It lowered my start value a little bit on all the events but not enough to be concerned at this point in the quad.

USA Gymnastics: What event were you most pleased with at Winter Cup?
Joey: I was most happy with my floor routine because it was a new routine.

USA Gymnastics: How are you preparing for the Tyson American Cup?
Joey: After this weekend at the Winter Cup Challenge, I’m trying to recover. My body is still a little sore. I’ll continue to do routines and get ready for the competition.

USA Gymnastics: Do you know about the tradition of champions that have come out of the Tyson American Cup event? What are your goals for this event?
Joey: Yes, it will be an honor to compete in this meet. My goals are to prepare just like any other meet – one step at a time. There are a lot of good competitors in the event so I will need every tenth I can get.

USA Gymnastics: Will you do the same routines as you did at Winter Cup or make some changes?
Joey: The event is less than two weeks away so I will do everything the same as Winter Cup.

USA Gymnastics: What is your favorite event to compete?
Joey: My favorite event to compete is high bar because I love the way the crowd gets into it, and also vault because it takes only 10 seconds to finish.

USA Gymnastics: What is the most challenging event for you?
Joey: My most challenging events are rings because my shoulders just don't like that event anymore, and pommel horse because that event is just always hard.

USA Gymnastics: Has anything changed since you won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games? Is life different at all?
Joey: Yes, people recognize me a little bit now. In the past I was always in the background. I don’t like to talk too much -- I’m kind of quiet and shy. Justin (Spring), Raj (Bhavsar) and Jonathan (Horton) are the talkers, and Alexander (Artemev), Kevin (Tan) and I are more quiet. But, now people seem to recognize me.

USA Gymnastics: You’re still at the U.S. Olympic Training Center right? What is your daily schedule?
Joey: We train twice a day, from 9 a.m. -12 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. On Thursday we have just one practice from 10-11:30 a.m., and also one on Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. When we’re not in the gym we hang out in our rooms, watch movies, or play games. I especially like this video game called Final Fantasy 11. It’s an online game on my computer and it takes up a lot of time. We also go to the training room before practice to prepare for the day.

USA Gymnastics: Do you get back home to Albuquerque much to visit family and friends?
Joey: I haven’t been back home lately since we’ve been training hard for the Winter Cup Challenge and Tyson American Cup, but I look forward to going back soon. My sister is pregnant with twins and she is due in March. I hope to get back to see the babies. I already have nine nieces and nephews, but this will be the first set of twins in our family.

USA Gymnastics: What do you like to do when you’re not training?
Joey: I go out with the guys on the team for sushi about once a week and see a movie. I also see Brett McClure once in a while. He’s the assistant coach at the U.S. Air force Academy.

USA Gymnastics: Thanks Joey for your time and congratulations on winning the Winter Cup Challenge and good luck at Tyson American Cup.