Gymnast fights for Olympics contention

SAAVANAH BOURKE

The countdown is on for Australian artistic gymnast Georgia Godwin as she prepares for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games selection event.

Georgia Godwin 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Georgia Godwin’s career goal will be fulfilled if she gets the opportunity to represent Australia at the Olympic Games in 2020. Photo: Courtesy Georgia Godwin

 

The event will be held at the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre in October, determining which five gymnasts will be selected to represent Australia at the Olympic Games next year.

Godwin said there was no room for error in the lead up to such an important competition.

“I need to be in the best form possible going up against my toughest competitors,” she said.

“That means fuelling my body properly with the correct foods, listening to my body after every training session and doing what I need to do to properly recover.”

The 21 year old surprised herself at last year’s Commonwealth Games, claiming a silver medal in the individual all-around event and a bronze medal on both the uneven bars and in the women’s team event.

“I went into the Commonwealth Games with no result goals in mind,” Godwin said.

“To come away with a silver and two bronze medals was amazing.”

“The fact that I didn’t know I could achieve those things and I did really helped with my confidence and will definitely help me in future competitions,” Godwin added.

Representing Australia at the Olympic Games has been a dream of Godwin’s since she was a little girl.

“Over 18 years of hard work and determination has gone into [getting to] where I am today,” Godwin said.

“Being selected to represent my country at the upcoming Olympic Games would definitely make it all worthwhile.”

Her father, Gene Godwin, said he and his wife, Mari Godwin, first introduced their daughter to gymnastics when she was three years old.

“Georgia had so much energy and loved bouncing on the trampoline we had in our backyard,” Mr Godwin said.

“We decided to take Georgia to the PCYC next door to her day care centre to tire her out,” Mr Godwin added.

 

Georgia Godwin five years old

Georgia Godwin was just five years old when she took part in her first gymnastics competition. Photo: Courtesy Duane Hart

 

The young Godwin picked up the basic gymnastics skills effortlessly, so her parents made the decision to move her to a more competitive gymnastics club when she was four years old.

By the time Godwin was nine, she was training up to 12 hours a week.

At the age of 10, Godwin accepted a scholarship to Moreton Bay College in Brisbane where she received training from the best elite gymnastics coaches in Australia.

“I have been with the same coaches since then,” Godwin said.

“Moving from Moreton Bay College to the Sleeman Sports Centre and to Delta Gymnastics, where I am currently training,” said Godwin.

Mr Godwin said it hadn’t always been easy committing to his daughter’s training requirements.

“When Georgia received her scholarship to Moreton Bay College I was studying at university and we didn’t have the opportunity to just up and move,” he said.

“In order to let Georgia follow her dreams, Georgia and her mother moved to Brisbane living in a unit opposite the college from Monday to Friday and came home to the Gold Coast on the weekends.”

“We lived like this for three years until we eventually sold our family home on the Gold Coast and all moved to Brisbane.”

“It was extremely tough and demanding on our whole family,” Mr Godwin said.

Godwin said the biggest factor that had slowed her down and stopped her progression as a gymnast was injuries.

“Gymnastics is such a taxing sport on your body,” Godwin said.

“Over 18 long years as a gymnast I have had multiple stress fractures in my back, shins and shoulders,” she said.

“[And] ligament damage in both my wrist and ankle.”

Godwin’s gymnastics career almost came to an end in 2018 when she landed awkwardly on the vault, splitting her ligament between the tibia and fibular and requiring immediate surgery.

“It wasn’t all smooth sailing; without the support from my coaches, teammates, parents and medical staff I most definitely would have retired a couple months post operation,” she said.

“It’s not easy to be on the sidelines in a leg cast watching everyone else progress.”

“Lots of stretching and upper body strength has gotten me back on track for Olympic Games selection.”

“I am feeling fitter, confident and stronger than ever before,” Godwin said.

Georgia Godwin training

Georgia Godwin has given it her all to get back on track for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games selection.   Photo: Saavanah Bourke

 

Both of her parents have noticed Godwin’s determination to succeed from the moment she first stepped onto the gymnastics floor 18 years ago.

“We are always super proud of Georgia,” Mr Godwin said.

“Not just in her performances and achievements, but also the way she has grown into a disciplined, courteous and kind young lady.”

“She has always been driven to succeed in anything she has tried.”

“Gymnastics has certainly simulated the highs and lows of life.”

“It has taught her how to control her emotions and to always stay focused on what she wants to achieve,” he said.

Godwin said it would be almost impossible to imagine her life without gymnastics.

“Having started so young, it is all I have ever known,” she said.

“I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

“This sport has taught me so much, from discipline and time management to how to deal with losing and overcoming obstacles in life.”

“If and when I decide to retire, I would love to still be involved in gymnastics, whether that be through coaching or judging,” Godwin said.

Mr Godwin would be shed by both him and his wife if their daughter was successful at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games trial.

“We have watched and been a part of both the highs and lows of Georgia’s career,” Mr Godwin said.

“From winning medals to numerous injuries and surgeries, we have always been there to prop her up and keep her on track.”

“If Georgia is given this opportunity to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, I hope she takes the time to soak it all in,” Mr Godwin added.

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