Op-Ed

Nobody's perfect. Not even Tim McNeill. A three-time All-American gymnast and team co-captain at Berkeley, in April McNeill won two NCAA individual championships competing at Stanford's Maples Pavilion. He keeps up a 3.5 grade point average despite a rigorous training schedule. He's even managed to maintain a yearlong relationship with a nonathlete (a high-achieving sociology major). His latest titles, on both pommel horse and parallel bars, bring his career total to five-more
than any other Cal athlete. At the Stanford meet he was "just lights-out better than his competition," says Ryan Cobb, head athletic trainer. This spring, the 22-year-old earned himself a spot on the U.S. Senior National Team, giving him a shot at the biggest prize of all this summer: a ticket to Beijing and a chance for Olympic gold.

"This is what I love to do," he says. "I love going to practice and competing. If I could do this the rest my life, I would."

If only he could.

Like some high-performance two-seater sports car in human form, McNeill's 5-foot-6, 135-pound body seems ideally suited for its...