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Senior co-captain answered fans’ questions Tuesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio Jake Bateman, a senior co-captain on the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team, held an online chat on OhioStateBuckeyes.com to answer fans’ questions Tuesday.

Bateman, the 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, paced the Buckeyes a season ago, earning All-America status in the all-around with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA championships. In addition, he finished second in the all-around at the 2008 Big Ten Championships to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. The Kingsport, Tenn., native becomes a two-time captain for Ohio State after taking the role on in 2008.

In 2009, Bateman leads the squad with an 86.9 all-around average that ranks him third in the conference and eighth in the NCAA. He also holds the No. 2 spot on rings among conference foes with a 15.033, just behind teammate Shachar Tal in first with a 15.083 average on the event. Tal and Bateman are rated fifth and seventh (tied), respectively, among all competitors.

Studying biology at Ohio State, the polished athlete also is a leader in the classroom as a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Second Team Academic All-American and First Team All-District selection.

Read a full transcript of Bateman’s chat below.

OhioStateBuckeyes.com::  

Welcome to Jake Bateman’s chat. He is here and ready to answer everyone’s questions.

PT: Columbus:  

If you could have one superhero power what would it be?

Jake::  

Oh, probably to fly. I’ve always wanted to fly. I still have dreams about flying. Right now, I would fly to a beach where it was 90 degrees.

Courtney:Minnesota:  

What got you started in gymnastics?

Jake::  

My mom got me started when I was two-years old. I was the typical rambunctious boy, running around so she wanted to get me started in something.

Don D.: Columbus:  

Is there a big rivalry in gymnastics between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines?

Jake::  

It’s a pretty big rivalry. Every team in the Big Ten is competitive. It’s our senior meet so it is an important meet for us. But Oklahoma is our biggest rival in gymnastics year-in and year-out.

Jeff: Oxford, Ohio:  

What’s the hardest thing about gymnastics? Do you plan to pursue it after college?

Jake::  

The daily grind of going in the gym when you feel your worst but knowing you still have to go in is the worst. The preseason conditioning and preparing for competition is the hardest part.

Erin: Columbus:  

What’s the meet going to be like Saturday?

Jake::  

Hopefully, we come in with a lot of excitement like we did against Oklahoma. We were really focused before Oklahoma and I hope that transfers over to this weekend. It’s going to be a battle because they are ranked fifth and we are sixth in the country.

Adam: Dublin:  

Did you ever think about playing a different sport? What made you stick with gymnastics?

Jake::  

I played golf in high school and enjoyed it because it gave me a break from gymnastics. But hitting a golf ball got boring to me after three-straight months. I have no regrets about sticking with gymnastics.

Paul R.: Columbus:  

If you could be stranded on an island with anyone, who would it be?

Jake::  

Jessica Alba.

TJ: Hilliard, Ohio:  

How much time do you spend in the gym during a typically week?

Jake::  

Eh, probably 15-18 hours of strict training, not including rehab and time in the training room.

Michael F:Columbus:  

What is your favorite event?

Jake::  

High bar because it’s fun and doesn’t take a lot of effort.

Laura: Cbus:  

What’s your favorite color? And why?

Jake::  

Scarlet, obviously, because I’m a Buckeye.

Joe: Cleveland:  

What do you eat before a meet?

Jake::  

I usually have a 12-inch grilled chicken sandwich at 2 p.m. and right before the meet I have a banana or power bar and snack on something during the meet.

Bob: Columbus:  

Who is the toughest Big Ten opponent?

Jake::  

Paul Ruggeri. He just came back from a knee surgery. With him back, that probably makes Illinois our toughest competitor. But Michigan has the same level of talent and we’re right up there too. We’re all really close in the standings.

Christina: Dayton:  

What has been your favorite experience as a Buckeye?

Jake::  

Probably winning Big Tens my freshman year. We were not expected to win because we had lost a lot of depth the year before. But we came in and rocked out.

Jeff: Columbus:  

What was your favorite cartoon as a kid?

Jake::  

I liked Doug. I didn’t watch a lot of cartoons growing up but on Saturday mornings I would watch Doug.

Emily: Cincinnati:  

What are you going to take from your time as a student-athlete at Ohio State?

Jake::  

It’s been a great honor to be a part of Ohio State men’s gymnastics and a Buckeye. During my time here, I’ve built friendships I know I will have the rest of my life. I take away a great education and plan to go to dental school in the future. Being a student-athlete has taught me how to manage my time and prioritize my life.

OhioStateBuckeyes.com::  

That’s it for Jake. Thanks for all the questions!