Photo by Tom Theobald
I started Rhythmic Gymnastics when I was five years old, literally picked up my first ribbon and never looked back. I turned 20 a few weeks ago and as I step into this new phase of my life I think it�s only appropriate to stop and appreciate the last 15 years.
If someone would�ve told me back then that I would still be in RG today, I wouldn�t have believed them. I always thought that no matter what, when I graduated from high school I would start a life at university without toe shoes and kneepads. Now that I�m a second year student at the University of Toronto, it dawned on me just how much I love this sport. It is hard to imagine what my life would be like without it. Don�t get me wrong, it has been anything but easy, but this sport has made me who I am today, even with the ups and the many downs.
I know what it feels like to have to sacrifice your social life for training, teach yourself the exam material while you�re on an 18 hour flight home from Australia and train and push yourself harder than you ever thought was humanly possible. I have unfortunately even lost friends along the way that just couldn�t understand and support what I was doing. But I would do it all over again in a second because 15 years ago I dreamed that one day I would go to the Olympic Games for Rhythmic Gymnastics and I have never stopped dreaming.
I wish it was that simple, but I�ve realized that dreaming only gets you so far. To get what you want, reach those goals, you have to be ready to work harder than you ever have before. You need to want it so bad that even disappointments make you want it more. Believe me, I know a few things about disappointments and even I have those days where you want to be anywhere but the gym, but I�m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
The biggest obstacle that I had to face in my career was missing the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. Honestly, that was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life. Looking back on it now, it made me such a stronger and more motivated person; something I never would�ve imagined possible. I knew that this sport meant too much to me to just give up. I was not going to end my career that way and realized that I still had more passion and determination left inside of me to go on. Now that I�m preparing for Olympic qualifiers again, I�m heading into it as a completely different person. I have transformed from a na�ve, scared little girl to an experienced, confident woman and it has made me such a better athlete and gymnast because of it.
I hope that I can be an inspiration to all Canadian gymnasts and show them that anything is possible. Don�t give up no matter how hard things might be, even if you think you can�t do it, you can. Look inside yourself and you�ll find the strength you need to reach your own goals. Remember that even though we think we know everything, we don�t and our coaches will make us into the best gymnasts we can be. Trust them, they want you to achieve your dreams just as much as you do.
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE THIS YEAR!!
I hope you all never stop dreaming because
who knows where it might lead you�.