OC Mom Watches Son Compete in Olympics
Nancy Bettcher Dooley—originally from Orange County, New York and now living in Orange County, California—watched her son Logan Dooley set a record for the United States in the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 13.
Logan didn’t score high enough to make it into the finals, but being 11 out of 16 makes him the highest-scoring U.S. men’s trampolinest at the Olympics so far. The last record was set in 2008 when American trampolinist Chris Estrada placed 15th at the Beijing Olympics.
“It’s like winning. I’m still proud. I’m still representing Team USA,” he told a reporter for USA Gymnastics after his two qualifying performances.
Twenty-year-old Uladzislau Hancharou from Belarus took the gold, while Chinese trampolinists—27-year-old Dong Dong and 24-year-old Gao Lei— took silver and bronze respectively.
This was Logan’s third time at the Olympics, although his first to compete. The 28-year-old went to the 2008 and 2012 games as an alternate.
This will probably be his last too, his mother said. Not because at 28 he is the oldest of his teammates, the youngest being 18, but because training is “basically your full-time job and it doesn’t pay very much,” Nancy told Epoch Times in a phone interview from Rio.
“It doesn’t allow you to earn a living and train for the number of hours a day that you need to train,” she said.
Logan starts his routine at 10 a.m. with personal training or physical therapy, he said in a Q & A with NBC Universal, the Olympics broadcaster. He starts his first workout at 1:30, then coaches from roughly 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. After that he does his second workout.
“That doesn’t allow him to work a 40-hour week with the kind of a wage that would allow him to support himself,” Nancy said.
Once he retires from competition, he would like to continue coaching, and one day own a gym, he told NBC.
How it Began
The youngest of four boys, Logan was a natural jumper from a young age. To keep him from breaking all the beds in the house, Nancy and her husband Jim bought a trampoline for the back yard to redirect Logan’s boisterous energy.
Pretty soon he was doing some advanced moves, and at seven years old his parents signed him up for trampoline lessons, “because I thought someone should show him the proper way to do things,” Nancy said.
After three weeks of lessons, the instructor came to them and asked if he could put Logan on a trampoline team.
“We gave a quizzical look because we had no idea trampoline was a competitive sport,” Nancy recalled.
He did compete in trampoline, as well as other sports like diving, soccer, and water polo as well.
He was a natural athlete, Nancy said, and sports helped him excel in a way that he didn’t at school. He is self-described as “severely dyslexic,” which made it hard for him to learn in a traditional classroom, and through 8th grade he went to a school for children with learning differences called the Prentice School. The school helped him learn how to cope with the learning differences, but academics remained a struggle, Nancy said.
“At one time we were concerned about whether he’d be able to remember the sequence of skills that he needed to do in a routine because that was one of the ways his dyslexia manifested,” she said, “but he seemed to manage it just fine.”
By 1999, Logan qualified to compete in the national championships, and his record includes a long list of silver and bronze medals from that event. In 2013 he advanced to the finals in the World Championships, and in 2010, he won the first World Cup series for the United States for synchronized trampoline with partner Steven Gluckstein.
Closer to home, he performed at the Great American Weekend in Goshen in 2009.
Nancy is from the Village of Montgomery, as were her parents, and she still has a lot of family there.
She and Logan both live in Lake Forest, California now, which is between Los Angeles and San Diego, not far from Disneyland. Although she’s been in California since 1966, Nancy still thinks of Montgomery as home.
“It’s where I grew up. It’s where my parents grew up,” she said.
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