CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Watching the 2012 Olympic trials from his home in Thornwood, gymnastics coach Jason Hebert had a simple message for his star pupil John Orozco.
"You’re the best," Hebert told him in a text. "Stamp your ticket to London."
The 19-year-old, Chappaqua-trained gymnast did just that last Saturday by earning an automatic bid on the men's gymnastics team. Hebert said he never had any doubt Orozco would be representing his country overseas.
“We have watched John achieve so much already in his life, this is just another step and I know he is just beginning," Hebert said. "I am very proud that I was able to play a part in his success and am looking forward to watching him go for the gold."
Orozco's Olympic dream began at the age of eight in Chappaqua, when he started making a daily commute from the Bronx to World Cup Gymnastics to be trained by Hebert and Carl Schrade.
“He was naturally agile and strong, very focused for such a young age and had a family behind him that was willing to make the long commute from the Bronx to Chappaqua everyday to ensure that John would be trained by the finest,” Hebert said.
During his time at the gym, Orozco went on to win three consecutive Junior National Championships from 2007-09, resulting in offers from several colleges and from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
Hebert said the offers were a dream come true for Orozco, who would paste cutouts and pictures of the 2012 Olympics inside his locker. Orozco began to weigh his options when a torn Achilles' heel he suffered during a vault routine in 2010 helped make a decision for him.
“I guess everything happens for a reason,” Hebert said. “After his injury, I knew the best place for John to rehabilitate and remain focused on his Olympic goal would be the Olympic Training Center."
The competition was the last time Hebert and Schrade coached Orozco, though they said he occasionally returns to work out and visit his friends at the gym.
“What an incredible role model he has been to all of our gymnasts here at World Cup," Hebert said. "He will always be our hero and now he will have the opportunity to be a great role model and hero to all young athletes around the world."
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