Becky Downie was born January 24th 1992 and is now an established gymnast. At just 17 years old she has had numerous successes and continues to shine in the world of gymnastics. After collecting many titles as a junior and winning the silver medal as a member of the British team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games she decided to go senior in 2007. The success continued and at the Beijing Olympics 2008 she came 12th in the all round gymnastics marking the highest result for Britain ever. She is surly destined for big things as she was recently awarded British Senior Gymnastics Champion for the second year running. With her career going from strength to strength we caught up with Becky to see what else was left to achieve.
Hi Becky, now you are just about to go off to the world championships how is the preparation going and do you still get nervous going to these events?
Yeah the preparation is going really well and I’m really excited to go and slightly nervous. I don’t get nervous in the run up to the events but when you get there it hits you and the nerves definitely kick in. You definitely feel the nerves a bit more when your there.
Do you ever feel overshadowed by the success of fellow gymnast Beth Tweddle?
Sometimes I feel slightly overshadowed but any success that any of us gets is good for the sport. The sport is not very popular and so we can make it popular with the success we gain. Gymnastics is not advertised a lot and is not as popular as other sports such as football. It strange because at the Olympics its one of the best selling events so we are trying to change that.
How does it feel to be the British Senior champion again?
I’m really happy about it especially to win it twice in a row. There is always room for in improvement and I know I can improve in the future.
How do you plan to improve in the future?
Well at the event I fell so I would just try to get rid of any mistakes in my routine. I keep most of the skills the same and just try to improve on them. It takes a long time to learn new skills but it is all worth it.
How often do you train and does it get more intense as you get closer to an event?
I train everyday except Sunday for about 6 to 7 hours a day. In the run up to an event the training is actually cut to about 1 hour and a half a day as you should be physically ready to compete. You don’t want to over work yourself before a competition and so it’s better to do less.
How do you maintain your physical fitness?
Well during training we do sit ups and press ups and we have to have a lot of upper body strength for the routines. For a warm up we will run around the sports hall and we also do hand stand holds and leg jumps. Then at the end of the session we run again.
Have you ever had any bad injuries?
My worst injuries were when my two front teeth got knocked out when I was 11. I fell of the beam and smacked my face. I had to have surgery two years ago and a stress fracture in my back. It sounds bad but this has happened over the years.
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How old were you when you started and how did you become interested in gymnastics?
I was seven years old when I started and it was actually my best friend who got me interested. We would just play in the playground doing hand stands and cartwheels and that’s when I realized I wanted to do this.
What do you like to do outside of gymnastic?
Catch up with my friends and family cause I don’t get to see them because I’m training all the time. I love shopping me and my sister just went actually. I like going to theme parks, going to the cinema and just watching television just normal stuff really. Recently I had my first holiday in three years, I went to Majorca for a week and it was great. I needed it I was just mentally and physically exhausted and it good to just take a break sometimes especially if your body needs it. Gymnastics is a mentally tough sport and so can be quite draining. You can’t have too much time off though because it takes longer to get back into it.
Talking of traveling is that an aspect of your job you like?
Yes I don’t like long journeys like to Australia that was too long but if it’s short I’m okay with that. We go abroad about 10 times a year to different training camps and competitions so you get used to it.
You have competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics finishing 12th which is Britain’s best result ever congratulations. Are the 2012 Olympics something that you are thinking about now?
Well the Olympics are always in the back of your mind but you don’t know what could happen between then and now. You just have to take it one step at a time, stay healthy and make sure you don’t get injured. I would love to compete again.
Your on the Great British Gymnastics team are you all close and is there a friendly rivalry?
We are really close because we all share the same experiences I known most of them since I was 9 years old. We’ve been bought up together there like my second family because we spend most of our time together. We do compete against each other sometimes but we all support each other and there won’t be any bad feelings if one of us wins over another.
You are currently at 6th form studying Biology, Media and P.E what are your aspirations after gymnastics?
Yeah Biology is really hard. I would be interested in television presenting or maybe being a gymnastics commentator but I’m not sure yet. I’m just enjoying gymnastics for now and not really concentrating on that yet.
What are your future goals?
Just to take everything one step at a time. I would love to compete in the 2012 Olympics but I just have to plan right and to keep on enjoying it.
What advice would you give to other hoping to enter into gymnastics?
To enjoy it, try your best and listen to your coaches. It is a really hard and intense sport and can be hard on your joints. The career span of a gymnast is until about 20 years old as you get less stable as you get older. I have to be more careful as I get older and try to stay away from injury. You have to be careful with repetitions too as they can be hard on you.
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