Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Meet Target's Only Plus-Size Male Model Zach Miko: 'I Wouldn't Have Had the Confidence If It Wasn't for My Wife'
- Read the Cover Story: How Blake Shelton Is Moving On After Split
- Drew Barrymore: 'I Am Who I Am, and I Just Don't Have a Bikini Body!'
- Oprah Winfrey's Hair Guru Andre Walker Tells All (Including What Look She'll Never Do)
- How Gray Is Rob Lowe, Really? 'Look, Rob Lowe's Getting Grayer. His Characters Are Not'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 06, 1987
- Vol. 28
- No. 1
Utah's Tiny Derrick Gibson Is a Dervish Who Makes Bigger Tumblers Bounce Up and Take Notice
"When I see a stretch of lawn," explains Gibson, "I have to give in and do a back flip or two."
At a mere 4'9" and 80 lbs., Gibson, just out of seventh grade at Central Davis Junior High, might be mistaken at rest for a slightly oversize bookend. But he has already put in seven years on the amateur tumbling circuit and has won six national age-group titles and the 1986 world championship for 11- and 12-year-olds. Tumbling differs from gymnastics, the sport of Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, in that it is more athletic and less balletic: The sport involves a straight run, a takeoff and a lot of fast flips. Gibson seems to have it down cold. "Guys nearly twice his age will go to national meets, take one look at Derrick and think, 'He's too tiny. It will be a cinch to outdo him,' " says Lori Davidson, one of the nation's top tumbling coaches. "But as soon as Derrick runs down that mat, they start to think differently. He blows them away."
One of seven children, Gibson started practicing somersaults on the family coffee table when he was two years old. Four years later, his mother, Mieke, grew tired of buying Super Glue to mend her furniture, so his father, Hi, an electrician, arranged to do some repairs for a local gym in exchange for tumbling lessons for their son. At 8, Gibson became the youngest tumbler in the world to perform a full-twisting double back flip and was well on his way to refining his repertoire. "It's kind of like a rush," he says. "I feel a tingle all over. Practicing three hours a day four days a week can wear me out, but I always feel great when I'm done."
In preparation for competitions, Gibson bulks up—more or less—on lasagna. "I don't like vegetables," he says. "But Mom makes me eat them anyway." His long-term goal is to "get real rich and build a gym." Meantime, having won a spot last year as the youngest member of the U.S. Tumbling Team, he anxiously anticipates the 1992 Olympics, when platform tumbling debuts as an exhibition sport. Says Jim Aamodt, a U.S. Team coach and Gibson's longtime mentor: "If you think he's good now, just wait until then."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!