The first thing that strikes you when you meet Eddie Penev is his relaxed and soft-spoken demeanor. It’s hard to believe he was born in Bulgaria and became one of the best gymnasts in Stanford history, but the numbers don’t lie.
The 5-foot-6 senior is a nine-time All-American, tied for the fourth-most honors in Stanford history. At this season’s NCAA Championships, Penev won the Nissen-Emery Award presented to the nation’s top senior, only the fourth Cardinal accorded the honor.
During much of his collegiate career, the durable Penev often competed in all six events. In 10 meets this year, he participated in 52 of a possible 60 events.
As for his calm personality, he comes by it honestly. Penev moved to the United States when he was 3. …
In May, he begins training with his first U.S. National Team. Penev hopes to compete in Portugal in June, and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Hartford, Conn. in August. His ultimate goal: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I kind of agreed to commit these next two and a half years to try and get there,” said Penev. “Whether it happens or not, I feel like being on the national team is a good place to start.”
Penev doesn’t lack for international experience. He has trained with the Bulgarian National Team and tied for sixth in the floor exercise at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands. …