A Halifax gymnast says he was stunned to be named to Team Canada for the FISU University Games, and he's ready to take on the challenge as he heads to Naples, Italy, this week.
"Just to get the opportunity to go and represent Canada and Dalhousie is just beyond me at this point," said Jeremy Bartholomeusz, 22, who is originally from Toronto but now trains at Halifax Alta Gymnastics Club.
The University Games are the largest multi-sport competition next to the Olympics, and Bartholomeusz has faced his share of challenges to make the trip.
He's the only man who will participate in the all-around category. And even though it's a prestigious event, Bartholomeusz has had to fundraise to cover the entire tab to attend.
"I'm happy to do it and it's great to have this big community of people who are behind me, supporting me and helping me get to my dreams," he said.
Recovering from ACL tear lit 'new fire'
A few years ago, he tore his ACL and had to rebuild his leg strength.
"The comeback just kind of made me realize how much I loved the sport," said Bartholomeusz. "It was kind of just like a new fire to keep training and keep getting better."
When he's not at the gym, he's chipping away at his neuroscience degree at Dalhousie University.
"I love a challenge," he said. "Dalhousie's been super accommodating with my gymnastics schedule."
Bartholomeusz has big shoes to fill when he goes. His training partner, Olympian Ellie Black, participated in two University Games and medalled both times.
They're each other's cheerleaders.
"For his gymnastics, it was a big stepping stone," she said of his improvement over the last few years. "I'm really proud of him for making that and for him to be able to go there and get that experience."
MORE TOP STORIES