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Makowske proves to be asset for Wolverines by inventing skill

BY EMILY O'DONNELL
For the Daily
Published February 8, 2011

Senior gymnast Ian Makowske has incorporated a new skill into his routine on the high bar, one that he invented. This move will be named after him if he completes it on an international stage.

It's comparable to a Full Tak — where the gymnast releases himself from the bar, while keeping one hand on, and does a 360 degree turn. In his own variation, he takes his hands fully off the beam.

“Not everyone gets to do their own skill,” Makowske said. “It’s great to get Michigan gymnastics noticed.”

His eponymous move cannot be officially recognized by gymnastics at the collegiate level. In order for the sport to acknowledge this move as Makowske's own, he must compete internationally. But because the competition for the U.S. national team is so great, Makowske is not able to compete for it. To accomplish his goal, he is applying for dual citizenship in Ireland in order to compete for the Irish national team.

“College gymnastics is incredible, but I’d love to have the chance to compete on the international stage,” Makowske said. “The U.S. national team has too many good high bar competitors and, on top of that, I would have to be good at the four other events.”

This year, Makowske has been through more physical hindrances than in any of his previous seasons at Michigan. With ankle, shoulder and back problems, he has been forced to go light on a few practices in order to stay healthy. With his positive mentality and determination, he has managed to keep his head up.

“His attitude is his biggest strength,” Michigan assistant coach Geoff Corrigan said. “He is a leader by example. He always follows through on what he says he will do.”

After getting second place in the high bar at the 2010 NCAA Championships, Corrigan has high hopes for Makowske this season.

“There is a higher level of athletes this year,” Corrigan said. “Our goal for him is to make top three in high beam at Championships again.”

Ultimately, this team hopes to add another NCAA championship to its trophy room, but will have to top powerhouses like No. 3 Illinois and No. 1 Stanford to do so.

Michigan has already set the stage for what will be a successful season. This past weekend, Makowske, along with teammates Sam Mikulak and Adam Hamers, competed in the finals at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev.

Makowske earned third place in the high bar, with an individual score in the event of 29.70, while Mikulak placed second in the vault.

No. 6 Michigan will compete this weekend against Illinois at home.