Julian Geisler is back.
And his back feels just fine, thank you.
Among junior men's gymnasts, the soon-to-be 17-year-old (his birthday's in April) finished sixth overall at the prestigious Elite Canada meet in Sherwood Park, Alta.
Geisler, a member of Langley Gymnastics Foundation and Team BC, competed in six events at the Feb. 8-10 competition: floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.
His top results were in high bar (third), parallel bars (fourth), and vault (tied for fifth).
"High bar and parallel bars are my specialty," Geisler said. "I've always just been a high flyer and a bars guy."
Reflecting on his performance at Elite Canada, Geisler said, "I made a few mistakes. It was my first real major competition of the year, and my first competition in a while."
His top-six result qualifies Geisler for national team status, which is a big step for him. He'll be competing for Canada at a meet in Berlin, Germany next month.
"Things are going forward," Geisler said.
Geisler is happy with how he fared, especially considering how far he's come.
He's only been back training for three months after coming off a debilitating back injury. A fracture in his L5 (disc in his lower back) kept Geisler sidelined for four months.
"It was very painful," Geisler said, ranking it at seven out of 10 on the pain scale.
He said the four-month break from training - with a steady diet of x-rays, MRIs, and rehabilitation - really helped. Geisler says he's back to feeling 100 per cent.
"That's rare for a gymnast, really, so I'm really happy," he said.
The injury was a result of overuse and what Geisler described as "a bad take-off on the floor."
Rehab included strengthening and keeping the range of motion, which Geisler said was painful when you have a fracture.
With a full recovery comes a new start. Geisler, who used to train in Delta, joined LGF about three months ago, reuniting him with his childhood coach Kris Krunick.
"Kris used to be my coach when I was eight/nine, and we were separated for a little while," Geisler said. "Then I decided to join him [at LGF]. It was the right call, for sure."
Geisler moved to Langley and enrolled at R.E. Mountain Secondary, right next door to the Langley Events Centre where LGF is located.
Healthy and back with his coach, Geisler is looking to continue moving in an upward direction as he wraps up his career at the junior level.
"I do expect more of myself, so I'm going to definitely strive to be at the top of nationals," he said.
Next year, he'll graduate to the senior ranks.
"I'm looking forward to it," Geisler said. "For some, it's a big jump because you need different requirements and higher routines and start values."
Geisler isn't intimidated by what's ahead. He's always strived to learn higher skills, which he says is what you need at the senior level.
Looking three years down the road, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are closing fast.
"I've always been looking for 2016," Geisler said. "It's a big goal but if I keep on the track that I'm going, anything can happen."