When the 6- and 7-year-old boys that compete with Adam Padgett-Johnson at the Hayden's International Gymnastics center in Evans watch him, they are justifiably impressed.
"Adam is like a little coach for them," his grandmother, Jenny Johnson, said. "He's their mentor."
Adam, who his grandmother admits is small for his age of 9, is a good role model for the younger gymnasts. The Boneville resident recently won the 7-9 Senior Level Georgia Men's Gymnastics championship, placing first in high bar, parallel bars, rings and the pommel horse.
The parallel bars and rings are Adam's two best events, but the pommel horse is one that his grandmother said is difficult for him.
"The pommel horse is tough for him because he is so short," she said. "Other than that, he's pretty well balanced, and he's made up for his size."
Before the state competition he competed in several competitions around Georgia. The first was in Marietta, the site of the state competition, at the Cobb Challenge. Adam finished fourth overall and won the rings at that meet. He also finished second in the high bar.
His next competition was in Roswell, Ga., with identical placements to his Cobb Challenge results.
Adam then traveled to Gymnastic Gold in Augusta where he finished first overall, while winning floor, rings and the parallel bars.
His last competition before the state championship was the Peachtree Classic in Tucker, Ga., in March. Adam was sick during that competition, but he still finished third in floor exercise and parallel bars on the way to a fourth-place finish overall.
After winning the state meet, he went on to the southeast regional, which involves winners from throughout eight Southeastern states. Adam finished 11th overall, but he helped Georgia's team finish third.
"He had a case of the nerves,"shis grandmother said.
She and her husband have raised Adam since he was 11 months old, and the travel involved with gymnastics has not been easy to accommodate.
"We couldn't do this until after I retired," she said.
Adam must be at practice every day during the week in Evans, but the changes she's seen in Adam are well worth the effort.
His small size and being raised by his grandparents had a negative effect on Adam's confidence, but his success in gymnastics reversed that problem, his grandmother said.
"To watch how he's grown and gained that self-confidence has been the best part to me."
Photo by J. Scott Trubey
Adam Padgett-Johnson, of Boneville, hangs from the rings at Hayden's International Gymnastics Academy, in Evans. He recently won the age 7-9 Senior Level Georgia Men's Gymnastics championship.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.