Igor Magalhaes is only 12, and in street clothes he looks like a regular schoolboy.
But put him on any gymnastics apparatus and Igor becomes a twirling, somersaulting phenomenon, defying gravity and leaving onlookers in awe at his power and grace.
Rivals are often resigned to minor placings.
This gift has already earned him numerous accolades, and the next clutch he is aiming for is at a meet in Jamaica in November.
Igor started gymnastics at age 3. He was so good at it he was invited to join the “pre-team” shortly after starting, but his mom Daniele thought he was a bit too young so he stopped gymnastics for a year or so. After that he joined the Motions Unlimited team and has been competing since he was 5.
Igor was born in Brazil and his family moved to Cayman when he was 18 months old. Now a naturalized Caymanian, he attends Cayman Prep and High School.
Motions, on Sparkys Drive, has a state-of-the-art facility and amazing coaches, Daniele said.
She added, “Igor’s coaches are former gymnasts and he loves to see them in action. Having his gymnastic season based in the U.S. helps him to be focused and always pushing to do his best as the U.S. have one of the best gymnastics programs in the world.”
Before the summer break, Igor had a fantastic season. He finished first all-around at the Valery Liukin Invitational [Dallas], an all-male meet.
He was second all-around at Paws for a Cause Invitational [Atlanta] and was second all-around at the Gasparilla Classic [Tampa], which is one of the largest international invitational meets in North America.
He was also extremely happy with his results at the Inter Island Games in Ynys Mon in Wales last month.
Igor had the honor of being the first male to represent the Cayman Islands in a gymnastic competition and was proud to bring home three silver and two bronze medals.
Igor used to play tennis and baseball and was also a footballer at Academy Sports Club, but with his busy schedule, he had to drop those sports and concentrate on gymnastics.
As his levels advance and the skills get harder, his practices become longer and more intense. He also enjoys running to break up the routine and maintain fitness. When possible, he likes to do the Cross Island Relay, Valentine’s Mile Run and the kids race at the Cayman Islands Marathon.
He hopes to one day get a gold medal representing Cayman in a major meet and hear Cayman’s anthem played overseas.
He would love to see more boys doing gymnastics. Igor would also love to compete in the team event, but not many boys do gymnastics in Cayman and the others on the team are younger and are on a different level than him.