Feb. 2, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Sophomore Cale Robinson started his Stanford career last season with a pair of promising performances before being sidelined by injury. Robinson, a human biology major from Tennessee, posted career-highs in parallel bars and high bar this year and is becoming a fixture in the Cardinal lineup. Robinson sat down to talk about growing up in the South, his time at Stanford and the importance of family.
Is your second year on The Farm different than the first?
"Last year was hard but in the long run it was the most rewarding experience of my gymnastics career. I got to watch the older guys train every day and saw what goes in to creating a national championship team. After being unable to compete for most of last season, this year has been pretty exciting. We came into this year and in the first team meeting of the year, Thom set the goal to win another national title and continue the tradition that Stanford gymnastics has established. I don't think people realize how good our team still is and they haven't seen other guys who are developing into great gymnasts."
Where did you grow up?
"I grew up in the South. The Bay Area is one hundred percent different than where I grew up. My mom is from Wisconsin and everything in the South was new for her too. I went to school in Knoxville, Tenn. where the University of Tennessee is and there's a lot of culture there, but I came from a town called Harriman, Tenn. near Wartburg and it was a pretty stereotypical southern town. The culture and diversity out here is the perfect fit for me and it's hard to imagine myself anywhere else."
What are some misconceptions about men's gymnastics?
"I hate when people say `oh, you do interpretive dancing on the floor or something like that', or `so you do the beam?' No, we don't. Once people come out and see an event, the have a much different perception of what men's gymnastics is. A lot of the time they're taken aback by how much strength and athleticism is required and that it's not the feminine sport they thought it was. We're so used to falling and getting banged up, I laughed to myself a few weeks ago at the meet when during our two-minute one-touch before high bar Eddie Penev was up on the high bar and he missed his release and landed on the mat. I could hear the crowd react but Eddie just jumped back up, no big deal."
How did you end up at Stanford?
"I think it was a no-brainer for my parents when Stanford offered. I remember when (head coach) Thom Glielmi called and spoke to my parents. My dad said, `I think we'll figure out how to get you out there and you can go to school at Stanford.' I hadn't taken my trip or really checked out the school but after I visited and got the details figured out and met the team it was an easy decision."
How has your family helped your gymnastics career?
"I am totally indebted to my parents for the sacrifices they've made to get me to this point, my whole family is pretty dedicated. We live an hour from where I trained but my mom worked near the gym so she would drive me to school in the morning, drive an hour home to get my brother and sister, drive an hour back to pick me up from practice and then we had an hour drive back home. She did that until I was able to drive. My parents always figured out ways to make things work for me. I'm equally indebted to my brother and sister who have been along for the ride and sacrificed so much over the years."