I am regularly asked by friends and family about the Olympic Games; my training, and how the entire experience was. For me the Rio Olympic Games was truly a journey that I went through over the last four years and to try and summarise how I felt in words is a difficult thing.
I always felt that the Olympic experience started when you enter the village. With the athlete’s village being slightly removed from the city and the chaos, when you were inside, it felt like its own little world. I found that because of all the high rise apartments, whether you were walking to the dining hall, or to the athlete’s games zone you were surrounded by a colourful montage featuring the flags of the world. Every country decorated their building in banners and flags and as you looked around you really got an idea of the magnitude and pride that every one had competing for their country.
Rio had its own culture and vibe and you couldn’t help but get sucked into it. The trampoline competition venue wasn’t full and didn’t have the same intensity as London 2012. My hairs didn’t stand up on edge as I walked into the roar of the stadium as it had four years earlier. However, Rio brought its own colourful energy which despite all the negative promotion in the media, it was an unforgettable and enjoyable experience. I competed and came 13th, which wasn’t the top 8 finish or podium result I was working for.
You constantly grow as an athlete, and in this competition despite my performances not being exactly what I had hoped for, I drew upon my London experience and used what I had learnt to push through and finish my routines. I know that once again this experience is something that I will be able to use to push forward for future performances and hopefully help other athletes do the same.
Throughout the two weeks I had a lot of opportunities and exciting things happen but If I had to choose three highlights, it would be the Opening Ceremony, the helicopter ride through Rio and hanging with family and friends after the competition.
Marching into a stadium filled with flashes and screams whilst standing in the Australian uniform next to my team mates is an experience you never forget. We waited and lined up for hours outside the stadium whilst the world watched intently on the happenings inside. But when the time arrived for the countries to march in, it all happened so quickly. We got hustled into a small dark tunnel, only lit up by the screens from a sea of athletes holding up their phones filming. Our team captain (Anna Meares) and Chef de Mission (Kitty Chiller), kicked off a chant; ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.’ Everyone cheering at the top of their lungs as we are entered into the stadium for the world to see. Its hard to top that. Being able to share this with friends and family comes close.
I think there is something really nice about experiencing Rio with some of my closest supporters and with people who have been on the journey with me over the last 14-15 years. For them to have flown to Rio, watch the competition and then for us to be able to spend time enjoying each others company is special. It wasn’t just my own personal journey; I didn’t get to the Olympics on my own. It was only right that we got to finish it off together. I think it was a fitting.
Since before 2012 I had been working towards Rio, and the competition. I didn’t often look past it and so now I am in the middle of reassessing and working out what’s next. I have completed my Masters of Architecture, which I would love to begin to pursue. In terms of sport I am having some time off to rest up and get refreshed so that when I start to bounce again I’ll be ready to push to new limits.
An Australian Olympic Trampoline Gymnast. Australian trampoline champion in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the national champion in the synchro event in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. He was selected to represent Australia at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics in the event.