Local gymnast has his sights set on Olympic Games

Cooper Kim is the highest-rated gymnast in Mid-Michigan since Jordyn Wieber
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Ask anyone who knows Cooper Kim: they’ll tell you he’s going places.

“He’s been special since the time he started doing gymnastics,” said Tom Buese, Cooper’s coach. “I actually got to start coaching him when he was six and had him until he was about nine. I moved, found another job, recently came back and it’s been a pleasure to coach him again.”

At just 16, Cooper is the highest rated gymnast to come out of Mid-Michigan since Dewitt native and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Jordyn Wieber.

“I feel really honored to be in that same position as Jordyn,” Cooper told News 10. “It’s really exciting to see where I could possibly end up.”

He’s been invited to be on the Junior National Team, another great step toward representing his country on the biggest stage: The Olympics.

“I feel like if I work hard enough for it, I’ll be able to get on a spot for possibly 2028 or even 2032,” Cooper said.

There’s a slight chance we could see Cooper in Paris for the 2024 games - after all, it didn’t take long for him to pick up the sport.

“It was pretty much right away,” Buese said. “We give all of our athletes tons of corrections and some of them are very insightful, but a six year old usually can’t comprehend that. He not only understood what I was asking him, he kind of knew the reason why.”

With a chuckle, he added: “It makes coaching him very easy.”

Cooper’s always willing to learn; he says he want to go to school, and not just for gymnastics.

“Education, I feel like is the most important especially for the rest of my future,” Cooper said. “Gymnastics comes to an end at some point for me, but my schooling will get me through the rest of life and for a future career.”

As for where: unlike his mom Cooper can’t compete for Michigan State, who only has a women’s team.

Among other schools, he has his sights set on Michigan.

“My entire family is MSU fans, so it’d be tough for them. But I think they could work with it,” Cooper says.

He’s in Colorado Springs training with the Junior team, something he does once a month.

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