My parents always guessed I’d be good at gymnastics. I was always that energetic little kid at the playground who swung from the monkey bars, competing against any other kid to see how many bars I could skip at one time. I started gymnastics through kinder gym as early as I can remember. I was around 4 years old…it feels like there’s never been a time when I haven’t been doing gymnastics. From there, I began competitive gymnastics around age 7, and competed in my first state championships at age 8, placing second overall.
The year after in 2017, we moved to Ottawa, Canada where I joined a new gymnastics squad that took everything to the next level. There I trained under the watchful eye of my Romanian coaches and had the opportunity to compete at provincial championships where I placed 3rd on the floor exercise against hundreds of other gymnasts, from clubs all around the province. From a gymnastics perspective, this was an amazing experience to be surrounded by top-level gymnasts who I always watched in awe and aspired to be like. One of my earliest memories was when I was just starting out, and I got myself in trouble because I wasn’t paying attention. I was instead watching the older girls who were flying through the air. I have now become one of those older girls, I can now do those skills, I can now fly through the air like I always wanted to do.
I recently competed at the level 7, 2021 State Championships and achieved my long time goal of becoming the all-around state champion. For me, this made me realise that I can achieve my goals if I truly put my mind to it, and always give 110% effort. Dedication has been a huge part of my success, and I currently train 17 hours a week at the gym. To me, my gym has become a second home, and a place where I go every day after school to do the thing that I love most. Going to training is a way for me to let go of my stress, and is an escape from reality. People often ask me if all of this training is worth it, but to me, I couldn’t imagine life without it. It can be difficult to balance my sporting commitments and my schooling commitments. For as long as I can remember I’ve been doing many hours of training per week.
People can be surprised to hear that in some ways being this busy can actually help me be more organised with my school work. This is because I know that I only have a limited amount of time to do my work, so it drives me to put my mind to work and complete everything I have to do. Often I complete my work on the drive to and from the gym, and in my spare time before training since I always arrive early. It may seem difficult, but I’ve adapted to working this way and it’s a good system for me. The HPAP Program has helped me lots with this, if my workload is just too much and I’ve had a busy week at the gym, the program will help me to get extensions if I need them, and helps me keep at a low level of stress.
I can’t see the end of my sporting career, I’d love to keep going for as long as I possibly can and continue all through school. I’ve still got many dreams and goals that I’m aiming for, such as competing at the National Championships, doing well in my upcoming State and National Competitions, and making it to level 10, the highest level possible. Through the years, gymnastics has taught me so much – skills that I can use as a gymnast, but also at school and many different times throughout my life. Things such as dedication, perseverance, time management, teamwork, resilience and so much more.
Through all my successes there have been, of course, hard training, hard competitions, hard weeks. In gymnastics, when competing you only have one chance – if you don’t stick the landing it can cost you the first place finish. I have, like any other person, made mistakes that have cost me the result that I wanted. I’ve fallen off the beam, not pointed my toes, bent my legs. But, I always persevere, I am resilient and if I fall down, I will always get back up. If I fall off the beam 10 times, I’ll get back up 11. This sport makes me strong both mentally and physically, and there can be times where I’ve wanted to give up trying a new skill, it can be the most frustrating thing In the world. But when you keep trying and finally get the skill, no feeling compares to it. Every time I do gymnastics I feel exhilarated and alive, nothing is quite like it, and that feeling reminds me of why I love my sport so much.
Year 9 HPAP Student