April 8, 2011
Two-time All-American Ryan Lieberman is one of the senior leaders for the No. 2 men's gymnastics team. Last week, the Cardinal won the MPSF title, defeating No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 California in the process. The senior is the 2010 national champion on the parallel bars and looks to defend his title at the NCAA meet on April 14-16. More importantly he hopes to help Stanford capture its second team title in the past three seasons. Before this all-around gymnast finishes off his final season as a Cardinal, GoStanford sat down with him to talk about gymnastics, the future and much more!
GoStanford.com: How and when were you introduced to gymnastics?
Lieberman: I began gymnastics when I was four years old in a normal recreation gymnastics classes.
GoStanford.com: Describe the moment you fell in love with this sport and how this passion has changed over the years.
Lieberman: I can't really put a date on when I fell in love with gymnastics, but each year starting around seventh grade, I started to love it more. While my passion has remained over the years, my approach to gymnastics has changed.
GoStanford.com: Define some obstacles you faced in gymnastics that have challenged you physically and mentally.
Lieberman: Injuries have challenged me physically from a broken leg to nagging wrist pain. But the biggest obstacles that I have faced in gymnastics are the mental ones, such as fear and failure. Those are the most difficult obstacles and overcoming them is a great accomplishment.
GoStanford.com: When you are holding yourself up on the parallel bars, what is going on through your head?
Lieberman: When I am holding myself up on the parallel bars, 95 percent of the time I am not thinking of really anything. Gymnastics is all about doing repetitions, so that when you perform you don't have to think about anything and your body can take control. The other five percent of the time though I usually think technical or motivational thoughts.
GoStanford.com: What did it mean to you to win the NCAA individual title on the parallel bars last year?
Lieberman: It was a great feeling. However, a team victory means so much more and carries much more emotion and that was what I was hoping for.
GoStanford.com: How has your senior season gone so far and what are your expectations for the NCAA meet?
Lieberman: Senior year has flown by! Overall, it has been a very exciting year and I have had a great time competing with all my teammates. This NCAA meet is going to be very exciting, as it always brings lasting memories, and I know our team will do great.
GoStanford.com: Tell us about your interests in business and music, as well as your plans for the future.
Lieberman: I love hip-hop music and would love to pursue a career in the business aspect of the music industry. I plan on continuing my training for the Senior National team after this collegiate season and during that time I will figure out what is in store for me after gymnastics.
GoStanford.com: What have you enjoyed most about being a student-athlete at Stanford?
Lieberman: The great people I have met, the great friendships I have developed, and all of the opportunities from being on the gymnastics team.
GoStanford.com: Is there a song lyric that inspires you?
Lieberman: All hip-hop music inspires me but the "Just Do It" slogan is something I say before all of my routines.
GoStanford.com: If you could do a gymnastic stunt anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Lieberman: Any of Egypt's pyramids!