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Dobre-Mofid's painful, unlikely path to Iowa is paying off

BY CHARLIE GREEN | NOVEMBER 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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Cyrus Dobre-Mofid was a 17-year-old kid from Maryland when he experienced something that changed the course of his career as a gymnast.

Coming down from a high-bar skill in competition, Dobre-Mofid suffered a compound fracture in his left arm.

“The radius and ulna broke completely in half,” he said. “One of the bones went through right through the skin.”

The injury could not have come at a worse time, as college programs were ramping up recruiting efforts for athletes of his age.

Dobre-Mofid was garnering interest from the likes of Penn State, among other schools, but following his fracture, the interest disappeared.

In an instant, one fluke of a moment, Dobre-Mofid had gone from prized recruit to damaged goods in the eyes of the country’s top gymnastics programs.

“I remember right before the meet, talking to some schools who had showed interest,” he said. “After the injury, the calls stopped coming in.”

At the time, the high-school gymnast was facing a grueling recovery process that would take between five to 12 months. He began to question whether he should stick with the sport.

“There was a point where I felt like I couldn’t continue with it,” Dobre-Mofid said. “All my offers were down, and I got injured in the most important year of my life.”

But after some thought, he figured he would stick it out, saying that, “when one door closes, another one opens.” And he wasn’t the only one to think that, either.

Where competitors saw a flaw, Iowa men’s gymnastics coach JD Reive saw a golden opportunity.

“Cyrus is a showman, he likes to perform,” Reive said. “There’s something about his aesthetics, the eye is just drawn to him.”

Dobre-Mofid came to Iowa in Reive’s early years, when the program was still struggling and had yet to emerge as a national power.

“I didn’t want to come to Iowa,” Dobre-Mofid said. “To be honest, I didn’t even know it had a gymnastics program.”

But Reive’s intensity and good faith won over the now-junior, who is a key contributor on the vault, floor, and high-bar skills for the Hawkeyes.

“Our sport goes up and down, and kids get left in the dust in the recruiting process,” Reive said. “We’ve done a great job of finding kids that may not be top-five recruits, but that I can make into fantastic gymnasts.”

Major injuries are a part of gymnastics, so Dobre-Mofid’s teammates understand how frustrating the recovery process can be.

Redshirt senior Lance Alberhasky, for example, tore his Achilles tendon during his sophomore year.

“It’s tough not being able to compete with your team,” Alberhasky said. “You just need to take it day-by-day and make sure you’re doing the little things to get better.”

Dobre-Mofit’s injury put his future at a crossroads, but less than a month later, Iowa called with a full-scholarship offer. After making his official visit, the decision was clear — Cyrus Dobre-Mofid would be a Hawkeye.

The surgical scar remains on his arm, and serves as a reminder of what he overcame.

“I’m happier than I would be at any other school,” Dobre-Mofid said. “I’m truly grateful to be here at Iowa.”

Follow @CharlesGreen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s gymnastics team.


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