I love watching the Olympics, and I am not a sporty girl. My favourite thing to watch is 100% the gymnastics. They are just so beautiful and so elegant. It makes me so jealous that it’s not me on that stage and it’s even more heartbreaking that it could’ve been.
I did gymnastics from age 4-8. I absolutely loved it and I was good at it. I used to practice my cartwheels every day and got so excited for practice on a Sunday. The beam was my favourite. I didn’t really know anyone at gymnastics class, the rest of the girls went with friends and made friends at the class but I was too shy to talk to anyone.
Without sounding big-headed, it was something I was good at. The classes at the time were in age, not ability so I got moved classes. I was more advanced than the rest of the girls my age so I got moved up into the older group. This is when my social anxiety took over my love of the sport. “None of the big girls would talk to me” and I felt so left out and so out of place that I quit.
This is one of my biggest regrets.
I never took up another sport in it’s place, nothing would live up to gymnastics anyway. I took up dance, a passion of mine at age 16 but due to time and money was only practicing for a year. There are some (admittedly few) other sports I enjoy but I hated PE at school. I am not a sporty girl in the slightest.
There’s a lot of publicity at the moment about encouraging girls to take up sport but we need to encourage girls in sport to encourage each other. To anyone who’s made it to the Olympics: you are so talented and so strong, if you won a medal or came 8th, you made it to Rio and that in itself is amazing and inspiring.
To all athletes who have made it to the Paralympics: you are truly incredible and an inspiration to everyone watching. You truly are super human and continue to amaze your audience with your talent and determination.
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Let me know what you think of #Rio16 and about girls in sport. Let me know what sport you do!