Juergen Achtermann, owner of Juergen’s Gymnastics Academy in Humble, didn’t start his athletic career in gymnastics, but he’s made a name for himself in the industry nonetheless.

Achtermann grew up in Indiana, where he said he was an elite high school wrestler and baseball player. His career in gymnastics didn’t begin until he moved to Texas at age 16.

“For me, gymnastics started really late,” Achtermann said, noting he quickly fell in love with the sport. “With gymnastics, there's always something newer, always something harder, always something more difficult. You can never learn everything in this sport.”

Achtermann eventually went on to coach high school gymnastics for Humble ISD before opening Juergen’s Gymnastics Academy in 1986.

“[The academy is] a full-scale gymnastics facility, so we offer quality training on all of the Olympic events for both men and women, which is unlike most places,” he said.

According to Achtermann, the gymnastics academy offers classes tailored to all skill groups and ages. Parent-taught classes are available for children as young as 18 months old, he said, while preschool classes are offered beginning at age 3, and school-age classes are offered beginning at age 5.

Achtermann said classes are also available for adults, noting he’s had participants over age 60 at the academy.

“A lot of the adults were either former gymnasts or cheerleaders, or just never had the chance to experience the sport,” Achtermann said. “It’s just a different workout environment as opposed to the regular fitness gym.”

Despite being a staple in the Humble community for decades, Achtermann said the gymnastics academy was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the gym was one of the first businesses to close during the pandemic and one of the last to fully reopen.

Additionally, Achtermann said the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games added additional stress to the business.

“Every four years we'll get a big boom from the Olympics,” he said. “We never got that boom.”

Still, Achtermann said he’s grateful the business was able to survive, noting more than 120 gyms throughout the state have closed permanently due to the pandemic.

While Achtermann said he is incredibly proud of the athletes he’s been able to coach throughout his career, he said he takes even more joy in watching members of the academy grow into more well-rounded individuals.

“[Gymnastics] teaches you to deal with frustration; it teaches you to how to work for short-term and long-term goals, and makes you more organized,” Achtermann said. “That kind of stuff helps you plan for success.”