Root said he was inspired after his sister, Melanie, used her gymnastics skills to obtain an education.
The 2012 Cartersville graduate said he started taking gymnastics when he was 9 years old. He said he had gone to the gym to watch his sister perform and his grandmother talked him into taking up gymnastics.
A few years later, he said, his sister’s success at the sport opened some doors for her and that affected his own life dramatically.
“My ambition was to get into college gymnastics and follow in her footsteps,” Root said. “She got a full ride to Oklahoma when I was in the seventh grade. That became my goal.”
It wasn’t as easy as all that, though. The gymnast estimates he worked 3.5 hours five days a week for years to get as good as he has become.
Root was named best all-around gymnast in Georgia three years in a row and was named the Georgia Men’s Gymnast of the Year his senior year.
He was a two-time regional champion and his senior year he was named to the Region 8 all-region team. He was semi-finalist on two events at the nationals on the high bar and parallel bars.
He gave a lot of the credit for his development to his coaches with the Cartersville Twisters.
He said his primary coach is Andrei Kouznetsov, the gymnastics coordinator with the Twisters.
“He’s a very coach and there’s no way I’d be as good a gymnast as I am without him,” Root said.
He said Yuri Kouznetsov also coached him the past two year. “He kept me on track with my work, making sure I worked hard every day.”
The gymnast said he began corresponding with the Illinois college his senior year.
“I talked to some of the coaches and sent them a video, and it went from there,” he said.
Root, who was a member of the Cartersville Twisters about 10 years, will take his skills to the next level this fall and plans to get even more than the opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s best Division I gymnasts.
Just as important to him, he will be pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
“Basically, I got to do that because of gymnastics or I would never have been in that situation,” he said.
Root said he hopes the degree in criminal justice leads to a career in organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“This is something I have wanted a few years, and college will give me that opportunity,” he added.