When Troy Lipis was 2 years old, his dad attached a climbing rope to the top of Troy’s bedroom ceiling. Next to where the rope was attached, there was a dollar bill.
“It took me a few weeks … a little while to be able to do it, but I climbed to the ceiling and got the dollar,” Lipis said. “That was so exciting.”
Now a junior at Trinity Classical Academy, Lipis is using his sense of determination to help him excel in gymnastics.
Lipis, who trains at Wallers Gym Jam in Santa Clarita, competes in all areas of gymnastics, which includes floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. His favorite and best event, however, is rings.
At the Junior Olympic Nationals in Reno, Nevada, from May 2-5, Lipis won silver in rings and bronze in the all-around men’s level 10, 17-year-old division.
He isn’t satisfied with taking second in rings, though.
“The fact that I didn’t get first place, that someone beat me motivates me because I don’t want that to happen next year,” Lipis said. “I have one more season before I go to college, so I have one more nationals. That’s next year … and I’ve got basically an entire year to prepare for that next competition.”
Now that it’s the offseason, Lipis is working on different gymnastics, but he’s more focused on strength and conditioning than anything else. If given the choice between ending practice with a game or some extra conditioning, Lipis will always choose the latter.
“What motivates me is seeing my own progress,” he said. “When I’m able to do a certain strength skill I wasn’t able to do a month ago, that’s what motivates me.”
The offseason also includes staying in touch with college coaches. Lipis has the goal of getting a scholarship and joining a men’s gymnastics team in college, a difficult task considering only 15 schools in the country offer the sport.
Videos of Lipis’ new skills are constantly in rotation for the college coaches who have shown interest in him.
On top of it all, Lipis goes to school. He does so with two backpacks: one packed with his school supplies and another with all his gymnastics gear is rolled around on wheels.
Five days a week, he goes to school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., then goes to the gym for a 3:40 p.m. practice. He returns home at 8 p.m. with just enough time to do some homework before he goes to sleep.
“I never really go outside for lunchtime or recess,” Lipis said. “Sometimes I do, if I have extra time and nothing to do; but I usually try to stay in the classroom and finish as much homework as I can because I know I’m not going to have a lot of time.”
But to Lipis, it’s all worth it. Because now he’s not just climbing to reach cash, he’s climbing for gold.