More than a decade ago, Adam Elahmadi was an impressionable youngster enamored with online videos of Parkour, an intense training discipline which originated with French Special Forces.
These days, the Highland Park junior has traded in some of those daredevil dreams for an outlet in gymnastics, in which he’s developed into one of the best in the state.
Like many youths, he tried several sports growing up, including basketball, soccer, and swimming. But he was driven to try — and excel at — something different.
“Some of my friends think gymnastics is for girls and that it’s easy, but it’s just the opposite,” Elahmadi said. “In terms of flexibility and strength, it’s a great sport to do.”
He competes both for the Scots and for his club team, Dallas-based Ridgewood Gymnastics. That makes spring his most critical time of the year.
In April, Elahmadi likely will enter the Texas High School State Gymnastics Championships as the top-ranked all-around athlete in the state. At last year’s state meet, he placed fourth in the all-around competition and won a silver medal on rings.
He’s aiming to become the first HP gymnast to win an all-around title since Meyer Williams in 2013. Williams, who also competed for Ridgewood, is now a senior at Ohio State.
“I find high school gymnastics to be a lot more fun,” Elahmadi said. “It’s more relaxed, and the team is supportive.”
Around the same time, Elahmadi will attempt to qualify for a third appearance at this summer’s USA Gymnastics junior national meet, which features the top performers in the country. He’s already traveled to nationals in Michigan and Florida during each of the past two years.
“He’s very coachable. He has the championship modality, for sure,” said longtime HP head coach Mark Sherman. “He can do a whole lot more than is required.”
Eventually, Elahmadi would like to earn a college scholarship at one of the 17 programs that offer NCAA Division I men’s gymnastics.
He’s about 5 feet, 11 inches, which is unusually tall for a gymnast. He admits “it’s a disadvantage,” and requires him to make adjustments. Sherman said the humble and hard-working Elahmadi compensates for his height with great body lines on all six events.
“He’s very artistic and pleasant to the eye,” Sherman said. “Even the really simple stuff — he looks superb. Those are things you can’t teach.”