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Living up to his parents

BY JACK ROSSI | FEBRUARY 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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His mother is a former world champion gymnast from Romania, and his dad is a gymnastics coach. Cyrus Dobre-Mofid has been around the sport all his life.

Growing up was all about gymnastics, and while the redshirt sophomore is originally from Maryland, he insists that he grew up somewhere else instead.

“I grew up in the gym,” he said. “Ever since I was little, it was going to be gymnastics for me, and ever since then they kept me in it. There have been times where I would want to quit and thought that it wasn’t for me, but my parents always pushed me to stay in it.”

While Dobre-Mofid is used to it, the idea of having parents with those kind of achievements can be intimidating.

“I can’t imagine growing up as a kid whose mom was a world champion from one of the most powerful teams in the history of gymnasts,” head coach JD Reive said. “Back when it was communist-bloc Romania, they were renowned for what type of athletes they put out.”

Although there are benefits to having parents with great gymnastics backgrounds, not every member of the Hawkeyes has the luxury Dobre-Mofid does.

“My parents weren’t into gymnastics at all, so I picked it up on my own,” junior Will Albert said. “It’s pretty cool that he has that background and people that he can talk to about practice, and they understand the terminology.”

Even when the times were tough, he was reminded that gymnastics was a destiny for him, and he needed to continue to compete.

“They kept me in the sport and reminded me that this is what I was born to do,” Dobre-Mofid said.

Now grown up and out of his parents’ watch, Dobre-Mofid’s mother and father only get to see him compete a few times a year because of the gym that they run in Maryland. But every once in a while, he will get a visit like the one he got at the Windy City Invitational earlier this year.

“It was 10 o’ clock at night, and I got a knock on the door, and my roommate went and answered and said, ‘Dude, your parents are here.’ I went to the door, and there they were. They said, ‘We’re going to come watch you tomorrow’ — it made me really happy and excited,” Dobre-Mofid said.

Dobre-Mofid was making noise at a national level when he was finishing up high school, but after breaking his arm, all the offers from the top gymnastics programs in the country went away. Only Iowa remained as one of the few schools that still wanted him.

“After I broke my arm, nobody offered me a scholarship anymore,” Dobre-Mofid said. “I got a call from Iowa, and I didn’t even know Iowa existed in the Big Ten. I came here, and they offered me a scholarship. They gave me a second chance; Iowa gave me a second chance to make my comeback and to prove myself that I can be a great gymnast.”

After being given that chance, he wants to make the best of his time.

Everyone on the Iowa gymnastics team has a role — Dobre-Mofid’s is to motivate. He wants to push people to their limits and make sure that they can be the best gymnast that they can be.

Dobre-Mofid is enjoying his most successful year in college. He is participating in every event except pommel horse, and his scores are consistently rising. Reive is excited he has a gymnast like this for two more years.

“We’ve been patiently waiting for him to come into his own and be able to compete well for us and that’s happening this year,” Reive said.


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