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There comes a time when all gymnasts have to fight against their friends for something they both want. Jason Gatson and Blaine Wilson were teammates and close friends, but they both were after the same thing in 1999. The National Title. About eight months before Nationals Jason had his shot at beating Blaine and he came up just a few tenths short at the American Cup. Jason wasn't about to let that happen again. Blaine was then quoted by saying "One day he'll beat me". Nationals was his time, he was sure to win. Many gymnastics fans were favoring him over the three time defending champion, Blaine Wilson. The other opponet he had was John Roethlisberger, who was coming back from a knee injury from a high bar dismount at 1998 Nationals. Little did he know when he mounted the high bar on night two, while in the lead over Blaine Wilson, he would be come the high bars next victim. One of the best bar routines of his life was coming to an end when a sudden pop put the arena to silence. On the ground clutching his knee was Jason. He sat in the trainers office that night and on an interview with NBC said the words that would be quoted at competitions to come, "I will be back, we're going to get this taken care of, and I'm going to compete at Nationals next year, and I'm going to make that Olympic Team,and we're going to Sydney, and we're going to bring home a medal". Jason was at the 2000 National Championships, but things didn't go as planed. NBC's coverage of Nationals ended with Jason walking to the locker room just missing his shot at Olympic Trials. When NBC caught up with him in an interview he simply replied "it wasn't my time" Looking on to 2001 he was sure to do better.
Or so he hoped. Jason was going into Nationals looking awesome. Doing such a great job at the nationals qualifer, he was ready. Making it threw high bar with no problem, it looked like Jason was on the right track for that world championship team. Yet another apprautus was standing in the way, the vault. Flying over for his one vault yet another "pop" was heard. Jason was on the ground. This time he managed to limp off the poduim holding onto his coach, Vatali Marinich. Jason headed back to the Olympic Training Center to have an xray and an mri. Yet again, it was his ACL
2002 became a recovery time for Jason. Many days of training while his teammates were away. He competed at one meet in 2002. It was the Nationals Qualifer, although it was just for practice, and he didn't compete all around. Jason watched as his teammates went to Nationals, and watched as a new national champion was crowned, he watched as his teammates went to individual worlds. Through all the watching and waiting, Jason was hiding a few tricks up his sleeve! Time came for the Winter Cup, Jason wasn't afraid to show what he'd learned in his time off... Since the winter cup, Jason has been dominating. He has been working hard in the gym and out on the competition floor. He also qualifed for Nationals... was it finally his time?
2003 National Championships, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Jason came in knowing what he wanted, his national title. Throughout the whole competition, Blaine was ahead of Gatson, but Jason knew where Blaine was, and Blaine in turn knew where Jason was. When all almost seemed final, with Jason only having one event left, Paul Hamm securely with the lead, Blaine thought he had finished in second, ahead of Jason. That is until Jason's score for the parallel bars was flashed, a 9.965... That put him, two tenths ahead of Blaine. It was his time, and Blaine's quote finally came true. That night as Jason stood on the podium, he thought back to that conversation with Blaine, but it still has yet to sink in.
When the 2003 World team was announced, it was no surprise to gymnastics fans that Jason's name was on it! Jason and the USA team fought hard through the whole competition and in the end they won the silver medal! It wasn't long after that, China's team captain was heard saying "I'm scared, the USA did really well... they are contending for gold next year!" Although Jason's competition was far from over. Qualifying over Blaine Wilson, Jason competed in the All Around with teammate Paul Hamm. Jason had somewhat of a rough night but was able to pull up to 8th place in the end. He went on a few nights later to place 7th in the still rings finals. Although Jason didn't bring home any individual medals from the competition, just being there was a victory in itsself!
2004 was supposed to be Jason's year. The one he had hoped and dreamed for ever since missing the team in 2000. Jason started off the year okay, but was sidelined shortly after the season began with a back injury, one he feared would keep him from his Olympic Dream, once again. Jason petitioned his way through nationals, only competing a few events. At Olympic trials he didn't compete all around, yet was selected to go to the training camp. It was there that Jason's olympic dream was realized as he was named as a member of the 2004 Olympic Team. Although he would not compete in the all around, just qualifying was enough for Jason. Jason was the last up on Parallel bars during team finals, it was his routine that pushed the USA to the spot they needed to be, to win the silver medal behind Japan.
Jason was born on June 25th, 1980 in Mesa, Arizona. Curently Jason is living and training in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Olympic Training Center. Jasons coaches are Ron Brant and Vitaly Marinitch. Although you may think he likes some events more then others, Jason favors all events, including high bar and vault. Jason began gymnastics in 1986 when he was just six years old. Jason was on the Junior national team from 1992 - 1997, when he made the Senior National team in 1997 and was on it through 2000. He regained his spot in 2003 and continues to be a member of the team!