Well, when he’s not winning Olympic hardware, anyway. The two-time medalist recently chatted with Made Man, and as calm as Jonathan Horton was, it could have been the day after Christmas rather than the day he hopped on a plane to London. With the Men’s Team Final upon us, the guy who scored a team bronze in 2008 (plus an individual silver in high bar) talks fitness, motorcycles, private islands and, yes, doing nothing. Pretty standard, really.
Everyone knows the Olympics is huge, but until you’re actually there and in the middle of it and feeling the pressure, hype and expectations… it’s crazy. Now I really know what to expect.
MADE MAN: How are you feeling going into your second Olympics?
JONATHAN HORTON: I’m extraordinarily excited. It’s something I’ve worked towards for so long, and the first time I made the Olympics it was so much joy, I was just so excited to be a part of the biggest sporting event of the world, specifically for my sport. Now to be able to do it twice, the reward is so phenomenal. I don’t know if it’s completely sunken in yet…
MM: How are things different from last time?
JH: Last time, I didn’t realize how big of an event it actually was. I’d watched it on TV and everyone knows the Olympics is huge, but until you’re actually there and in the middle of it and feeling the pressure, hype and expectations… it’s crazy. Now I really know what to expect.
MM: In what ways have you improved from the last Games?
JH: I feel like four years later I’m a much more refined gymnast. My skills are much more consistent and I’ve got harder routines. I also feel like I’ve improved mentally. That has come with age. At this point, it’s much more of a mental sport than it is physical. I’m actually six years older than the next oldest guy on the team, which makes me the old man. I’m a much more seasoned competitor.
MM: What’s been your favorite location to compete?
JH: I’d have to say Japan. I’ve been there four or five times now. The culture and food is amazing. It’s an awesome place to go.
MM: When you’re not training, what do you do for fun?
JH: I’m married, and my wife and I really like to do nothing. She’s in medical school, and I train four to six hours a day. I love to just sit on the couch and watch TV or a movie. We are also both adrenaline junkies, so when we do feel like getting out and having a good time, we both have motorcycles. It’s a great way for me to take my mind off the sport and for her to take her mind off school. We’re pretty simple people.
MM: What is the most fun thing you’ve done out of the country?
JH: In 2003 during the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic, we went to a small private island and went snorkeling. The water was just so clear, it was just unbelievable. I’d never been in open water, so just to dive down and go snorkeling was amazing.
MM: You’re ripped. What’s your biggest fitness tip for the rest of us?
JH: The most important thing is to eat consistently. You can work out all you want, but if you don’t have a consistent diet, you’ll never feel as good as you possibly can. Energy and what you put into your body mean so much. If you put the right things into it, you’re going to be able to train harder and feel good and have the desire to work out. Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet.
MM: Is there anything you would like your fans to know about you?
JH: I’m just an average guy who works extremely hard at what he wants. I’ve got my goals set and I don’t let anything get in my way. Persistence is the one word I can describe myself with. I don’t consider myself the most talented athlete, but I work extremely hard and I think it’s the journey I enjoy more than the reward. I push very hard to accomplish my goals.
UPDATE: Team USA fifth Monday night. Horton still has a chance for an individual medal in high bar next Tuesday.