Riley was the first baby to be born in the UK in 2009. Yes, his Birthday is on New Year’s Day, and he is now 11 years old. He started gymnastics when he was 4 Years Old. That was when his parents saw his passion for bouncing around and tumbling at every opportunity, which led them to formally enrol Riley into a Gymnastics program.
Riley’s passion for gymnastics started to blossom and take into form when he became Level Underage Southwest Champion. This was followed successively by more accomplishments – Being Level 1 Southwest Champion, Elite Level 2 Southwest Champion, 1st place in the Southwest Festival in 2018 and 2019, 17th overall (among 49 competitors) at the National Competition in 2018 and 11th place (out of 35 competitors) in the National level competition in 2019.
Riley has never looked backed since. At the age of 11, he follows a strict regimen of daily fitness workouts and gymnastic routines to keep his form. He has shown great discipline and work ethic. He trains a total of 21 hours a week and in between does cardio workouts.
He also manages his diet responsibly, opting to stay away form too much sugar and calories and instead consume food that are rich in micro nutrients like bananas and vegetables.
Education is something that Riley takes seriously. At a young age, he understands the limits of the sport he loves and that is why he pays attention to his studies with equal dedication.
When we ask why he thinks his Education is important, Riley answers; “I am aware that an athlete can be very successful, yet it can all turn bad with just one serious injury. This is why I think we all need a fall back. I love Gymnastics, but if it doesn’t work out, I should have a plan B.”
Riley was born with a birthmark on his cheek. And although he is fond of it, it comes with challenges as other kids made fun of him because of this. He is no stranger to discrimination and bullying as well, whether it is in school or in the gym. However, Riley has hurdled through these challenges by his innate kindness and acceptance of everyone. This led him to be an advocate of anti-bullying and a kindness – this made Riley one for the young rising Internet personalities today from the UK. People have seen his struggles and how he faces them with positivity and kindness – and they relate to him.
In 8 months’ time, Riley has grown his Instagram following from 585 to 33,000 followers and 11,000 followers on Facebook in just a week. His phenomenal rise in online popularity can be attributed to his audience’s response to his message of Kindness and inclusion while motivating them to rise above their own life challenges.
It is no surprise that brands like Nike, SportsDirect UK and Bicerica took Riley in as their Brand Ambassador. “He simply radiates with positivity and good vibes…” says Marko Lucas, Marketing Head of Bicerica, an Amazon affiliate store.
From there, Riley took on more brand representations for different companies, including being the Poster Boy for the “Knives Down” initiative – a project to raise awareness and curve the growing knife crime among young people – all noting the same positive values and characteristics that Riley has been known for. Currently Riley is busy working on new and bigger projects and collaborations and he is very excited about them.
Some of the brand he currently represents includes Dragonfly Leotards, Jester Clothing, Catchies Bands, SecretWood and Gym Kids.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Coronavirus Pandemic has brought a lot of difficulties in to Riley’s routine. He had 2 competitions cancelled this year, and he can no longer go to his Gym for his regular training. However, for Riley, these challenges became opportunities for him to explore new areas for him to excel.
Since the lock down began, Riley has developed his own routines that he piously follows every day. He kept an active schedule and connected with other gymnast from different parts of the UK and even around the world and collaborated on online training sessions. His parents supported him through all this, providing Riley with a safe place to train in their back garden and help him acquire proper Gymnastics equipment.
Riley has great dreams for the future. He hopes to be in the Olympics one day and win a Gold for his country. But above anything else, he wishes to continuously inspire people through anything he does.
When we asked him, what makes you happy and content? Riley answered: “We all go through tough times, but we handle them differently. If I could be an inspiration to someone and help them face their challenges in a positive way, then I would have done my part, and that will make me very happy.”
What Riley has shown everyone is something we all usually miss – that we can turn challenges and adversity into something positive to help us achieve greater things. This 11-year-old is proof that if we put discipline, perseverance, positivity, and kindness in everything we do, we can succeed in anything.
With everything that Riley has been through and achieved in his young career, it is worth watching his journey with great hope and interest.