What is it that originally drew you to gymnastics and what do you love about the sport?
When I was six my parents gave me a Gymbus Party - which involves a double-decker bus filled with gymnastic equipment coming to entertain you and your friends at your house. I think this is what originally sparked my interest in gymnastics. What I love now about gymnastics is the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of a training session. When you’ve gone into the gym, just done your job, and you know you’re on the right track.
In 2010 you became Australia’s first female world gymnastics champion at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. What went through your mind after finding out that you’d won?
The moment I saw the score I actually read it wrong and I had to reread it and then realised that I had won. I was in disbelief and shock. It took a few minutes for those feelings to change to happiness. It only really sunk in what I had achieved for gymnastics and myself once I got home and had a chance to reflect on it.
What is the training schedule for an Olympic gymnast like?
We train 10 times a week for about 34 hours a week. These training times don’t really change throughout the year, but the intensity increases during competition phases. Being in an Olympic year our coaches are ramping up the intensity and we are going to try and go to as many international team competitions as we can before July.
As well as the physical training, how do you preparing mentally for the pressure of the Olympic Games?
I competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and I think that was a really good starting point for me. I had never experienced living in a village before or being surrounded by multiple sports. Now that I have experienced that, and the actual competition, it has better prepared me to compete in these games. I know that if I have good training behind me, I can trust in myself so I don’t need to feel the pressure. Plus, I have also competed in the O2 Arena (where the competition is going to be held) so it’ll really feel like just another competition.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice that I have received is: You can’t change the outcome, you can only change your performance.So, I can’t focus on what others think of my routines I can only focus on my performance and change it accordingly. I am just lucky to have the opportunity to be able to compete in something that I love doing.
What are you passionate about apart from gymnastics?
I am passionate about collecting things. Not anything in particular, just little things so that I am able to remember certain events that have happened to me over the years. I keep them in a scrapbook that I’ve only recently started to create.
Is there anywhere in London you’re most curious about or can’t wait to visit?
If we get any time out in London I would love to go and see the London Eye. That way, I can see some of the sights without actually having to go and physically be there to see them. I know we won’t get much of an opportunity with our competition going on, but at the end of it all if we could go there that would be fantastic.
How do you like to relax when you’re not in training?
I like to relax by watching movies or keeping a scrapbook of things that are important to me. I also like just hanging out with my family. They have supported me so much though out the years, and I don’t see them that often so when I do I try to make the most of it.
What has been your favourite travel destination so far and why is so special to you?
I love travelling to Japan. I’ve been there a few times, and the people there are so friendly and polite. They also have such a rich culture.
Where will we be seeing you in five years?
In five years hopefully I’ll be finished with my biomedical science degree and possibly working on another degree. I will probably be retired from gymnastics but still living in Perth. I’m not too sure yet though; five years is a long time and anything can happen!
Lauren Mitchell debuted as a senior Australian gymnast in 2007 and within three years won a gold medal at the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships. While a highlight, Lauren also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, in the women’s artist team all-around competition. The following year, Lauren won the all-around competition at the Australian National Championships, as well as finishing fourth in the all-around at the London World Championships. On the back of winning four gold medals at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, Lauren finished sixth in the all-around event at the World Gymnastics Championships, whereby she also finished first on floor.