Success with Honor: Felix Aronovich
June 15, 2010
By Matt Gallardo, Penn State Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Commitment and dedication are qualities often found in collegiate athletes. Yet, with Penn State men's gymnast Felix Aronovich, these qualities are exemplified in what he had to overcome in order to be where he is at today.
Aronovich was born and raised in Kiryat Bialik, Israel. After graduating high school, Felix served a required three-year Israeli military commitment. However, Aronovich was given special status of an excelling athlete, an exemption that is given to a very small number of athletes. This status allowed him special exemption to train for gymnastics while still fulfilling his military commitment.
Felix has been competing in gymnastics for more than 17 years and was first introduced to the sport when his grandfather took him to the gym at age five.
As an excelling athlete, Aronovich was released daily in order to practice and maintain top physical shape. However, upon arriving at the military, Aronovich completed a month long boot camp where he was unable to practice and had to be solely focused on the military procedures.
After completing boot camp, Felix was assigned to work in the kitchen for six hours a day before practicing for gymnastics. After five months, Aronovich found it difficult to maintain a solid workout regimen while working in the physically demanding kitchen. He was able to transfer to help teach younger Israeli children who were struggling to learn, which he said "was much more rewarding than working in the kitchen".
Even when things were seemingly smooth as a tutor for young children during the day and training at night, he still had to travel two hours both ways for practice, which he stated was the most difficult part of his days before college.
Aronovich is not the first Israeli gymnast to compete in Happy Valley. Felix's good friend and senior gymnast Noam Shaham came to Penn State three years ago and was Aronovoch's inspiration to attend Penn State.
"[Penn State] was an easy choice for me," said Aronovich. "Noam always praised the academic aspect of school and the professionalism of the team and coaching staff."
Most days at Penn State begin with a 6 a.m. wake up call followed by a 6:30 practice. The hour-long practice left room for a slight break before classes, lunch and catching up on homework. After classes, Felix and the rest of the team participate in a three and a half hour practice followed by a team dinner. After dinner, most of the team gets together to work on homework and recover for their next early practice.
Felix prefers to be with friends and watching his favorite show house during his down time, and says that he would much rather prefer being around others than being alone.
Gymnastics has been the only sport he has participated in and says that he would like to try mixed martial arts because he admires their toughness.
Felix is very modest with his accomplishments. "I like to think of myself as a humble person and I don't want to brag to much about my accomplishments, or what I had to go through to get to were I am now," he said.
Although he has been through a lot in his younger days, his accomplishments on the mat are still what stand out the most. He has competed in the European Championships from 2004-09 and in the World Championships in 2006. Felix finished ninth in the pommel horse during the 2008 World Cup event in Cotbus, Germany.