Gymnast hopes to take social media creativity to the Olympics

Gymnast hopes to take social media creativity to the Olympics

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If everything goes according to his plan, you’ll be hearing Fred Richard’s name a lot this summer.

“The goal isn’t to make the Olympics. The goal is to win gold medals at the Olympics and bring them back home,” Richard said.

He is a master showman, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows him. He was already doing tricks when he was still in his crib: A family photo shows him in the crib as a baby, little feet straight up in the air in a sort of handstand.

“I didn’t even know I did that until, like, I was like 8 or 10, and someone showed me that picture, and I was like, ‘Huh, I would do that?'” he said.

Now, people are asking, “How does he do that?”

Last summer, at the age of 19, he won the all-around bronze at the world championships in Belgium.

“So I feel like a lot of people’s dreams are like, get gold at the Olympics or do this success, but I feel like those are stepping stones. I feel like my biggest goal is to kind of change the sport. I want to bring way more people to the sport. I want the sport to be seen on the level of other big sports like basketball, football,” he said.

To do that, Richard and his social media team released a steady stream of videos on TikTok and Instagram to his half million followers. Some of his videos, like when he challenged Simone Biles to a “who does it better” contest, went viral.

He said he gets ideas for his content while he’s in the gym. A flip into the foam pit gives him time to think.

“It’s dark down there and I’m just there with my thoughts for like 30 minutes. It’s just a brainstorm session and I just just think of some crazy stuff,” he said.

If he makes the Olympic team and medals, his social media following will certainly grow, as will his impact on the sport.

“I think it would be huge because I know how to milk things, and so I’ll probably be the most entertaining Olympic athlete at the competition, at the Olympics,” he said.

In the meantime, he’ll continue to push his creative limits during competitions and in front of the camera.

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