Flipping Through Life

By Emma Purce

Whether he’s soaring through the air on the rings or soaring down a hill on his longboard, Philip Lynch has always enjoyed the rush of adrenaline and the thrill of competing.

From a young age, Lynch, an 18-year-old MPH senior, showed a natural affinity for the sport of gymnastics, said his mother Donna Prince-Lynch.

“It was really strange; Philip was doing back handsprings and flips at the age of 2 ½ to 3,” she said.

Since then, Lynch has excelled in the sport. He is currently a Level 10 Optional Gymnast at Blaze Gymnastics in North Syracuse. Level 10 is one of the highest levels that someone his age can compete in. is advanced level allows gymnasts to have more flexibility and freedom. Lynch’s coach Jim Luttinger said Blaze has been important to Lynch, and that the other gymnasts have been like brothers to him throughout his life.

“The gym’s been family to him so, you know, he does it socially and for other reasons I think,” Luttinger said.

Prince-Lynch also said his teammates have been with Lynch for most of his life, and have grown extremely close to him.

“These boys have been with him, probably since the age of 3 and older,” she said. “They’re very close-knit families. It’s like our second family.”

While Lynch competes in all of the men’s gymnastics events, including pommel horse, parallel bars and floor, his favorite event is the rings.

“It just takes so much strength and agility to get around and keep form and it’s just a fun event to do, unlike some other events, which are not necessarily boring, but a little less interesting for people to watch,” Lynch said. “Plus, everyone knows rings, like you watch that in the Olympics.”

He also enjoys floor, where he gets to show to his favorite skill, a triple twist.

“[A triple twist] sounds like what it is,” he said. “It’s a ip with three twists, three full twists in it, and it just looks pretty cool to finish off a routine and it just amazes people.”

His gymnastics career has had some rough patches throughout more than 10 years of competing. A few years ago, Lynch broke his foot and was forced to put his gymnastics career on pause to recuperate.

“[It] put him off for the whole season, which was very disappointing for him because what they do is they move up the boys from levels,” his mom said. “So he had to wait a year to go back into it because he had to do physical therapy and he had to go back and strengthen that foot.”

Lynch still competes, but has also recently taken on coaching. He currently coaches the junior youth class at Blaze Gymnastics. Between practicing and coaching, Lynch spends most of his time at the gym. “I basically live at that gym,” he said. “I’m there five days a week, and for three hours each day.”

In order to balance schoolwork and gymnastics, Lynch tries to get as much homework as possible done during his free blocks at school, but he does allow himself an hour every night after practice to finish any work he wasn’t able to complete in school. When Lynch is not practicing or coaching gymnastics, he dedicates most of his limited free time to longboarding. He began longboarding three years ago, aer watching videos on YouTube. Lynch describes the rush of that sport as flying down a hill on a plank of wood with wheels, going speeds similar to a car, upwards of 40 miles an hour.

Lynch is relatively new to the competitive scene of longboarding. His largest competition was the Eighth Annual Central Mass Skate Festival in August 2017, where he made it to the quarterfinals and came in sixth. One longboard company spoke with him about a potential sponsorship, but he did not pursue it in order to focus on college and avoid overcommitment.

When Lynch attends Clarkson University in the fall of 2018, he does not plan to continue competing in gymnastics due to his current injuries. While Lynch has decided not to compete in gymnastics, he does plan to continue competing in longboarding, but he has yet to decide if he will revisit any sponsorship offers.

“He might decide maybe aer he graduates, or maybe his first year of college,” Prince-Lynch said. “He’s gonna do a couple more competitions, see what other sponsors are out there.