"I work hard...because winning feels amazing", said eleven year old Farragut homeschooler Nicolas Stigall in an interview with Adria Amos of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Over the last four years, Nicholas has earned 31 consecutive all-around wins, including four state and regional championships.
As a preschooler, Nicholas first began classes at Tataru's Gymastics. He was very social growing up and his parents knew he needed to be doing something more. After visiting the gym for different birthday parties, he started taking great interest in the gym and what it could offer.
His talent wasn't noticed until owner Mike Tataru saw his potential as a gymnast shortly after Nicholas moved out of preschool class. "Tataru expressed that Nicholas might be doing well enough to try to compete, that he's very strong," Nicholas' mom (Elizabeth) said, "Mr. Tataru is the one who recognized his talent. We didn't start out with the goal of him being a gymnast."
Despite his rigourous schedule of 18-20 hours a week of training as a member of the men's level eight gynastics team, Nichola's parents still continue to support and home school him. Nicholas' homeschooling schedule allows him to travel all over the country (They've driven to Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. Earlier this year they flew to Texas.) But despite his many trips, Nichola's family made the decision to homeschool even before Nicholas had begun kindergarten. Elizabeth explained that people often believe she homeschools because of the many hours that Nicholas spends on gymnastics every week, but that isn't quite the story. When asked why she homeschools Nicholas, Elizabeth simply replies, "the truth is we do gymnastics because we homeschool."