Mitchell sets sights on Rio

Thursday May 14, 2015

Australia’s best ever gymnast has confirmed she will push on for the Rio Olympics, with the dream of taking her country to the podium still burning brightly.

In a huge boost to Australia’s aspirations in Rio, Lauren Mitchell, the 2010 world floor champion and 2009 world beam and floor silver medallist, has confirmed she is committed to what will be her third Olympics, and will take the first step towards qualification at next week’s 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne.

Australia has never won an Olympic medal in men’s or women’s artistic gymnastics, the 23-year-old telling Fox Sports she had her doubts as to whether she would be the one to lead the Australia team towards the podium, something which British Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle believes is only a matter of time away.

“I was really in limbo for a very long time so it’s only probably been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve really kind of stepped it up and said, ok, give it one more crack,” Mitchell said.

After winning two silver medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games, Mitchell was forced out of the world championships just two days before qualifying competition, rolling both ankles in training, throwing her into a long rehabilitation period.

But it’s the Olympic dream and the possibility of an Olympic medal that continues to burn within.

“You kind of forget what the Olympic vibe is like until you are there.”

“I had the AOC athlete’s commission meeting last week and just listening to everyone talking about it again kind of re-motivated me and I’m like, ok, I remember what it’s like.

“I want to go back,” she said.

Meanwhile, Olympic bronze medallist and three time world champion Beth Tweddle has told a Gymnastics Victoria Women in Sport breakfast this morning that Mitchell’s podium dream is simply a matter of time.

Like Mitchell, the now 30-year-old walked away from her first two Olympics with little to show for her years of work, but overcame the odds in her third attempt to claim bronze on uneven bars at London 2012.

The most successful British gymnast in history says she sees similarities between Australian gymnastics and Great Britain before breaking through the medal barrier.

“You can see the passion and enthusiasm and the coaching behind it,” she said.

“You’ve got so much talent in this country and it is just a case of time,”

“You have to target them when they’re six or seven, and then wait another ten, twelve, fourteen years before they can compete at the elite level,”

“It does take time.”

Lauren Mitchell will return to competition next week at the 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships at Hisense Arena (Monday 18th May – Saturday 30th May).

News Source: Gymnastics Australia Media