US Olympic gymnast Shane Wiskus puts his body on the line, just like his stunt pilot dad


Shane Wiskus first tried gymnastics because his parents wanted him to. No, Mike and Tammy Wiskus didn’t put their 5-year-old in the sport with early dreams of a college scholarship or something as far-fetched as the Olympics.

The Spring Park, Minn., family put Shane in tumbling classes at North Shore Gymnastics in Maple Plain about 17 years ago to burn off his abundant energy. It was because he was a handful at home, literally jumping on the furniture and figuratively still bouncing off walls come bedtime.

“He was crazy,” Mike Wiskus said in an interview with the Pioneer Press. “It was hard to keep up with him.”

About two months in, Mike recalled a gymnastics coach saying, “We need to talk.” Mike laughed at the thought earlier this week. That very first coach recognized Shane was, well, different than the other tykes.

That’s when Wiskus started on a much higher trajectory, one that included a standout career in the Gophers men’s gymnastics program and, now, reaching the pinnacle in these Olympic Games in Tokyo. He will compete on the four-man U.S. team starting Saturday.

As a kid, Shane also played soccer, hockey and baseball, but one by one, he gave those up to focus on gymnastics. As a little league pitcher, a batter hit a line drive straight into his face. It loosened teeth and bloodied his mouth.

“He walked in and said, ‘I’m done with this, let’s stick to gymnastics,’ ” Mike recalled. But given the aerial nature of the sport, it comes with its own health risks. Shane, who wasn’t afraid of heights as a kid, wanted to push all limits, and one of those was to do the Iron Cross move on the rings. It’s where a gymnasts grips the rings with arms parallel with the ground below.

Coaches at Mini Hops had told Shane no, his young shoulders and wrists could have been shredded if he tried to perform the move too early. His body first needed to mature more. Once he got the clearance, he was “so pumped and ready,” Mike said.

Shane’s desire to push the limits is something Mike understands well. For the past 22 years, Mike Wiskus has been a stunt pilot with Lucas Oil, touring the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s not so much risk as it is practice,” Mike explained. “There is always the risk of falling in gymnastics. There is always the risk of crashing when it comes to airshows. … I fly hard. My son sees that.”

Mike’s TikTok account has 121,400 followers and it post videos of him doing an assortment of stunts, such as cutting a ribbon 15 feet off the ground while the plane is inverted as it zips past.


What a show we had today!! #LucasOilAirshows #Dayton #Ohio

♬ chicken tikka – han

Gophers gymnastics coach Mike Burns sees a correlation between airshows and gymnastics meets.

“(Mike) has a very daredevil-y approach to life, and I …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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