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Description

FRANKIE JONES
FOLLOWING THE FLAME LIVING ARCHIVE / PEOPLE’S COLLECTION INTERVIEW

conducted by Phil Cope
9 October 2014, Cardiff MET University


My name is Francesca Jones, I was born in Kettering in Northamptonshire, and my date of birth is 9 November1990.

a very active kid

It’s quite hard for me to remember anything before gymnastics because it’s obviously been a massive thing in my life. As long as I can remember I’ve been in a gym. I think I was about six when I first started so before that I can’t remember that much. I think I was a very active kid. Any sport that there was I’d be involved in and I’d drive my mum up the wall doing cart wheels around the room and things like that. So, I think it was only natural for her to put me into gymnastics as soon as I was allowed.

It was artistic gymnastics - not the one I ended up in - but I loved it to pieces. I remember doing little circuits. You only go for a few hours when you’re little and it was just like a little pretend vault on a crash mat, and some floor stuff, and naughty toes and good toes which was flexing and pointing, and all of the really basic things. I just remember having so much fun there, so many friends that you gained - like-minded sporty type people - and I just remember it being a very happy time in my life.

from artistic to rhythmic

When I was about nine, I think, the gymnastics club I was going to, the sports hall, needed a new floor, so I remember it being closed for quite a long time and I was just driving my mum crazy wanting to be doing things, so she took me to the only other gymnastics club that was nearby, which happened to be a rhythmic club. It was very different. There’s no apparatus, it’s all floor-based stuff with hand apparatus instead, so it was a bit of a different one … but I really really loved it. I ended up doing both for quite a while and I was doing gym every single night of the week, Monday to Sunday. It was a bit crazy when I think about it now, but it’s what I loved doing, so it was natural.

Then, I think, when I was twelve or something like that, I got into the National Squad for rhythmic gymnastics, which was a point where you had to sign to say you wouldn’t hurt yourself doing other silly activities, so I had a big decision to stop going to artistic gymnastics which I was sad about. I did keep going every so often, just to see everybody because I had a lot of good friends and coaches and things that I was close
with from doing it six until twelve. It’s quite a long time. Yeah, I had to stop that and concentrate on rhythmic to get further ahead in that one.

I think if I hadn’t have gone to rhythmic, if I would have just stuck to artistic gymnastics, I’m not sure I would have got where I am with rhythmic. I don’t think I had the natural body shape and the strength, but I know I’m a very determined person. Wherever I get to, I want to be better, so I would have thought I would have got further than I probably expect I would. I’ve just got the attitude that I want to be the best at what I’m doing, and if I can be better I will be.

Rhythmic gymnastics has become a sport that’s more well known, a lot more people have been introduced to it through the Olympic Games. I think a lot more people now go, “Oh yeah, the one with the Ribbons”, but it’s a very different sport to artistic gymnastics. It’s just floor-based with hand apparatus, with Ribbons and Clubs that you juggle, whereas artistic is the Vault and the Bars and apparatus. I think rhythmic is a nice one to be aware of because if you don’t like doing all the tumbling and the strong elements of gymnastics, it’s a good place to go instead. Some people who prefer to do more dancing and things like that, if you’re a bit scared of going on the Beam because it’s quite high up and you don’t want to fall off, it’s a different thing that you can do. A girl who might not enjoy artistic could love rhythmic. I think it’s nice for them to have that option.

Predominantly rhythmic is a female sport. In Japan, they have a men’s version. I’m not quite sure of the exact rules but it’s kind of got more tumbling and the apparatus are slightly different, but it’s not really branched out into other countries yet. Maybe in the future it could get here but at the moment it’s a more female predominant sport.

Rhythmic gymnastics offers an environment where, for a lot of girls, it gives you the confidence to have a go at everything. I see it all the time in the gym. We have to do dancing elements obviously, and we have to do interpretation of the music to try and get used to dance a little bit more, and so many girls are like, “Oh no, I’m not going to do that. I’m too shy to be dancing. I can’t make it up myself.” But then, if you get them all to do it together, they will find a confidence, as a group. It will bring them out of themselves and it’s lovely to see a young girl who is too scared and too shy to do anything to then be picking up a Ribbon and be dancing around and happy. There’s a new club that’s just started up in Wales in the valleys, it’s in Pontypool. This little girl didn’t want to join in, she was sat on the side. I went and spoke to her and I was like, “Just come over here with the other girls.” They were all playing with their Ribbons and I said, “Just hold the Ribbon and you might enjoy it.” She just sat there and by the end of the session she was joining in, so I think how special a sport it is to get that little girl who is too shy to go in and even start doing it, then joining in and doing something. I find that very special.

I think gymnastics in general is such an important base sport for any child. It gives you conditioning, core strength, that if you then want to do a different sport when you’re older you’ve got that base. It gives you coordination. A lot of people completely miss their lefts and their rights and which arm goes where. I think it’s an incredible sport, even if you’re pre-school. Going to pre-school gymnastics just to get basic skills, I think that base is a perfect starting point for any child, for sure.

It brings dance, gymnastics and hand apparatus all together in to one thing. You have to be able to do it all to be a top-level gymnast. So, instead of watching a dancer, you’re watching a dancer who’s then doing gymnastics and having some sort of circus, juggling-type thing all mixed into one. I think it’s a very special, complicated sport. It takes a long time to get as good as you need to be to be top level. It takes a lot of years of practice, especially if, like for somebody like me, I wasn’t naturally gifted in it. It just took hours and hours of training. It’s a tough sport. You have to commit yourself fully to doing it if you want to be a top-level competitor. You have to put in the hours, but it gives so many skills back.

It’s a transferable sport. You can use the skills. I’m the least-coordinated person you could think of. I fall over things and knock into walls as I’m walking, but I’ve gained the skills of coordination from just having to do it so many times, so I have more dexterity and coordination of my body and knowledge and an appreciation of hard work. I think my work ethic is definitely a lot better since I started. I know in my mind, if I set myself a goal I can get there as long as I can put my whole effort into it, and I’ve learnt that, through the training, you can think of something as being impossible but as long as you do it a little bit by little bit you’ll get there. I think I’ve learnt that the hard way.

being welsh?

I was born in Northamptonshire but my dad is such a proud Welshman, I don’t think he would have let me compete for England had I wanted to, which I didn’t. The first competition I did was the Welsh Championships and from there I went into the Welsh squad, the national squad. I think I got in there before I got into the British squad so my first national squad was Wales. My first international competition was for Wales as well, so I’ve always been competing for Wales. I never would have had it any differently.

I think being Welsh is a very special thing. It’s a really hard one to explain for me because I don’t feel ... I feel at home here in Wales. I’ve been everywhere for training, my home town Northamptonshire; then I went to the National Sports Centre in Telford, Shropshire; then I trained in Birmingham for a while; I’ve been to Bulgaria for training; and the last three years where I’ve finally managed to settle, I’ve been living in Cardiff. I feel just like I’ve come back home, even though I didn’t begin here. I don’t know, there’s a homely feel, I’ve got family here, it just feels like my home even though it wasn’t to begin with; it just is. I think it’s in you and to compete for them, it’s a very special feeling. I’ve never been part of a team other than Team Wales that feels so close and supportive. Unless you’re in it, you don’t really know how special that feeling is, but having done it three times at the Commonwealth Games, I’m very very lucky to have been part of that.

so much heart

I think the fact that we’re such a small country in Wales doesn’t make that much difference because we have so much heart and the support that we get from government and sporting governing bodies and the structure of the sporting world in Wales is just so incredible. I would not be in gymnastics had I not been supported by Wales throughout my career, and encouraged. English gymnastics hasn’t got that sort of support, so I know I’ve been the most incredibly lucky to be part of Team Wales and supported in the way that we have been.

the whole process of getting better

Training, I love it. I love getting better at anything but then obviously there’s aspects of training that anybody is going to hate … and not many people are going to enjoy being in pain. I think a lot of the more special athletes love the feeling of training and getting better, and being so tired that you’ve put everything into that training session, your whole effort. For me, I want to be dead at the end of the training session, I want to be on the floor struggling to stand up. That feels like you’ve done your whole heart into the training. I think if you train properly you’ll notice the improvement and that’s what I find special about it: just going from not being able to do something to being able to do it, it’s amazing. That’s what I love about it, the whole process of getting better.

For rhythmic, obviously, there’s a lot of hours of training and sometimes because my body has been a bit injured, especially in the last four years or so, I’ve not been able to do as much as I’ve liked, and I’ve found that very hard, because when I was the youngest I would be in the gym the longest doing the most repetitions. Because I was the worst one, I always had to do more to try and keep up with everybody and get better. That was always my thing that made me different. In my mind, it was, “Oh, I’ve done ten more than them. I’m going to end up being as good as them.” That was how my brain functioned and then recently, in the last two years especially, my hips did not let me do that. I’ve had to be a lot cleverer about the way I train, not make it worse, not overdo it. It has been very difficult for me to sit down and be like, “Okay that’s enough for today.”

balancing training and education

I always found education quite important. I clearly put gymnastics ahead because my interpretation is you can come back to education but I didn’t want to be at the point where I could not go to university, so I did my GCSEs. I wanted to do well in them because again I’ve got that competitive side. I wanted to do well in them and do the best I can.

But gymnastics came first. As long as I was doing what I needed to for education, so as long as I was getting the grades that I wanted, I wouldn’t mind if I was missing school. I was doing the work in my own time and getting the training done, too. I did my exams near training instead of at my school. Then, I did my A-Levels through distanced-learning, so I had to work harder at it but it wasn’t quite the same thing as everybody else was doing, and I don’t know whether I missed out on things because of that. I probably did different subjects than I would have done if I had been in a college or school but I got what I needed to come back to education now I’ve finished training.

in the bubble

It doesn’t feel like sacrifices to me because it was what I loved to do, but from an outside point of view, it probably does look like I made sacrifices. I didn’t go to school. I
didn’t see my family as much as I wanted to. I didn’t do things like partying and things like that. I moved away from home when I was about 15 and just lived at … I don’t know if people know that there is a national sports centre that looks a bit like Hogwarts. You go down a big driveway and you drive in and then you’re in this bubble and I didn’t come out of that bubble. I couldn’t drive. I was only young and I only got out once every other week to go shopping. It was very enclosed. It was all about training. It was probably a bit too intense in that way but it got me to where I am now, so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It felt like I was lucky to be there and I was doing what I wanted to do and I was getting all the support. It didn’t actually feel like I was missing out on anything.

You can’t just stop training and then go back to it when you’re older, whereas with parties you can have a party whenever. I think the family aspect of it was more for me. I didn’t get to go and see family as much as I wanted to because I was always training or off away in a different country competing. But they would always come and watch me at British Championships.

I didn’t see my friends. I had a very different lifestyle. It depends what your goals are in life. For me, I wanted gymnastics. I wanted to be the best at gymnastics. Somebody else might prefer to see their friends and have a boyfriend and go out and party - that might be what they want to do in life - but for me, it didn’t feel like I was missing out, it felt like I was doing what I loved.

i’ve done well here

The first Commonwealth Games I did was in Melbourne … which was a disaster! I was so young and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at the time and it just went so badly and I think a lot of people said afterwards, “Did you not even think about giving up?” I was like, “No, it didn’t even cross my mind”, because that was what I did, it was what I loved. So, I went from that to my first British Championships that I won, flipping it on the head. I worked really hard throughout that year. I learnt from what I had done wrong there and that was my first big “I’ve done well here.” So, that one, probably, is one of the most special ones. I always kind of felt more nervous at a British Championships than probably at World Championships or something abroad. I think there’s more pressure, you’re expected to do well, and I think, for me, I didn’t like that, everybody looking at you and judging you. They probably weren’t, but that’s how it felt like for me, there’s a spotlight on you and they expect you to perform and deliver. I prefer to be abroad and in a situation where it’s, “Oh what’s this girl going to be like?” rather than, “This girl should be doing this ...”. Having that expectation, it’s just pressure for me.

lessons from defeat

Generally, in the British Championships there was always somebody who would be a threat but I was always, “If I compete well I’ll be fine”, whereas this year I didn’t win. I came second. I had an error and Laura Halford, who’s the second one in Wales, she beat me. It was such a disappointment at the time, but I think it was meant to happen like that because that made me and the coaches address how I was training - a kick up the bum! I think that’s the only time that I fell apart a little bit under the pressure. Usually, I have that pressure and I perform well and I get better for the pressure but that’s the only time that I’ve not risen to the occasion, and I think it came at the right time. It made me focus on everything I needed to do to do well at the Commonwealth. So, I guess it was a good thing, but at the time I was distraught.

the relief of delhi

Delhi was a very interesting competition. I think I drew on a lot of the experience I’d had in Melbourne. I knew what was happening and I knew what was to come. Again, I was on my own. It was just me. I didn’t have a Team around me, so it was a bit lonely compared to what the other countries were feeling because they all had their other Team mates with them. I didn’t have the best lead up to it. I think just before I was training at Lilishaw to start with and then we lost some of the funding, so I had to go home. I had a car crash a few weeks before and I was very lucky not to hurt myself. I was on the way to a competition, M6, crashed, spun around, window on me. I was very very lucky but that affected my training a little bit. I didn’t train properly for a few days, so I didn’t feel as ready as I could have done.

I had to keep concentrating because the third day was when I was having to perform. I think I was always aiming for an individual medal, not an overall medal or anything like that. We obviously didn’t have the Team but I had to compete in the Team competition to qualify for the individuals, so it was a long competition. The Commonwealth is always a really long competition - you have the podium training which is kind of like a competition but it’s not a competition where the judges can watch, then you have the Team comp and then you have the individual overall, and then you have the individual apparatus. So, I had to concentrate all those three days but the massive pressure was on the last day. It was a really long process and we were at the end for that Commonwealth Games so everyone was partying at the end of their competitions, so it was quite loud and you can’t really sleep. That put an extra pressure on me but I think as soon as I got the medal it was, “Oh, thank goodness!” I put the pressure on myself. I expected to win something at that Games, so it was a relief more than a happiness.

the low of London

London 2012 was a massive deal to manage to qualify for it, and I was so pleased to be there and it felt like such a privilege and an honour to be part of the Team and be involved in such a special Games. But then, on the other hand, I didn’t compete as I wanted to. My first three routines were good and then I finished with a massive error that just felt so pointless because I wasn’t even doing anything. I could do that routine ten out of ten in my sleep, perfect, and then it just flew out of my hand, doing nothing. It was one of those moments when you’re just, like, “Why? Why did I even do that?” I couldn’t comprehend how I managed to do such a silly error, so I was gutted, so, so upset with it. It probably spurred me on to keep going. I didn’t want to finish on that, but I think overall the experience was … I was so lucky to be involved in it. You can’t really put it as a low because so many people would have given their arm just to be involved with it, so I can’t count that as a low in my career, but it wasn’t what I wanted from it.

coming back stronger

If something sets me back, you can either fall over and get lost in it or just learn from it and carry on, and I think I’m the kind of person that attacks that and is, “No I’m not going to leave it there, I want to be better!” I want to get from things what I want to get from things. I don’t want to be defeated. I want to come out on top and be happy with how I’ve done. I think if I’m disappointed in myself that’s not a good place to finish something. I think the fact that I did that error in London probably made me want to carry on more. I think if I’d done that routine well and come off how I’d wanted to in that competition, I may have been, “Oh I’m happy with that, let’s stop.” Whereas I was really unhappy with it.

I think I have got something different, like more, determination is the word, I guess. I don’t want to be defeated. Psychology is a big thing in sport. They tried to get me to work with a psychologist when I was younger and I didn’t have any appreciation for it. I was “Who is this lady talking to me? I’m not going to listen to her. She’s annoying me. I can do it myself!” I always had that attitude. I did have that resilience in me, anyway. But in the last year or so, especially working up to the Commonwealth, I did work properly with a psychologist and did try to understand how they were helping me and utilise the things they were giving me on top of what I learnt.

the glories of glasgow

Glasgow was special for me. It was a big decision to carry on to go to it and there was a lot of talks with coaches and athletes and governing body to try and decide whether it was a good plan, because I had a massive operation on my hip - well, I felt like it was a massive operation - straight after London and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back to the top level and be the best, and I didn’t want to go as number two. That was definitely in my mind, I didn’t want to be number two of the Team

That was the first thing, but the fact that we were going to take a Team for Wales was so massive. I couldn’t not be part of it. I had to put my pride underneath and be like, “Okay, maybe I won’t be the best one but because we have a Team, it’s too big a thing.” I had to think to myself, “It’s too special to get a Team for Wales for the first time to be worrying about whether I’ll be the number one or not”. But I didn’t want to injure myself anymore. My hip, I could redo what I’d just done to it, and I didn’t really want to start all over again, but I knew that I had such a good Team looking after me that it was worth doing it and working with them and hopefully getting to where I needed to be. So, I think the Team really did push me into doing it and the fact we’d got a Team going was the biggest thing.

Obviously, it was good decision because from the start to the end of that competition was the biggest highlight any gymnast could want to finish with. When I got there, we weren’t going to be doing the march on the Opening Ceremony. We made the decision because we were competing the very next day, quite early. It was probably best to just rest. And then they came and asked me to be the flag bearer! The other two [in the Welsh rhythmic gymnastics Team] had never been to a Commonwealth Games so they had never done an Opening Ceremony, so we thought we really ought to do this, but how can we do it so we’ll be fresh, ready for the competition the next day. You have to wait a long time and walk a long way to get to the Opening Ceremonies usually, so I had a little chair and had to sit down and then move the chair and then sit down. Everybody was looking at me, like, “What is she doing?” I was, like, “I have a competition tomorrow. I have to look after my hip!” So, I looked a bit silly but it was totally worth it just to be involved in being Team Wales. I was ridiculously proud, a proud moment for anybody but to be at the front of it and to be carrying the flag was just a moment I’m never ever going to forget. I was worried about taking somebody out with the flag but I managed to get around and I didn’t drop it, so it was all good. It was a really really amazing beginning and then the competition was probably one of the most nerve racking experiences of my life.

The first day was just kind of testing out the waters and seeing where we were going to come. We didn’t have a clue if the Team could place or not. We were hoping, I think, and we’d put everything into the thought and the aim of coming somewhere, but it was our first ever Team, the other two girls had never done a big competition. I was the most experienced one, so I was trying to help them and prepare them for the massive stage that it is, but they coped so well. I was so proud of them. They did such a good job. Laura Halford - the one that won the British Championships - it was the first big competition she had ever done and to perform so amazingly, I was so proud of her. The whole Team was just so special, like we’d become so close from so much training together and to do it for each other was really special.

My last routine, I finished it and I knew that I’d done a really good routine. I knew having seen the scores from the last three apparatus, I was, like, “Oh yeah, I think that’s going to help us.” So I just jumped off and the hug at the end of that routine with them as a Team was one of my highlights of my whole career, because I’ve never been anywhere with a Team. I’d been on my own, and to get to train with them for two years and have that build up and have that support was just very very special and showed me the difference between what I had been doing and what a Team can do. I was very very lucky to have been part of it.

We came second which was above any expectation. I think we were hoping to fight for a bronze medal but to get a silver medal was just unbelievable. I think we were so shocked so it was a very nice conclusion to all the effort and training. It was a really long competition the Team comp. We had practiced that. We spent nine hours in a gym several times to work out what we were going to eat, what we were going to do, how we were going to prepare, what we were doing between routines. It was the minute details that we’d gone into so it just made everything worth it. The youngest gymnast, Nickara [Talbert], she has massive injuries to her back. We weren’t sure if she would manage to do gym again, let alone compete, so for her go on that journey as well with me and my hip, it was just a really special environment. The team just looked after each other and I had never been through that. It was just phenomenal for me.

To come second overall was probably more of a proud moment for me than even getting a Gold in the Ribbon. I think the second day, I had to hold my nerves so hard because all four routines count, so you can’t make a tiny error in any of them, and I think I did my first three, I managed to get through my first three, and then in the last one there was a gap before I had to go on. Usually, when you walk down the corridor, the person before you is on the floor competing already, but the girl hadn’t even gone through on to the floor, so I was thinking, “Oh no, I’ve got such a long time to wait. I can’t cope with this.” I almost broke down then, but my coach was there and she steadied me, Jo Coombs, she kind of was, like, “You’re fine, you’re fine.” And I was, “I don’t think I can do it!” So, I think that moment, the fact that I managed to do a routine under that immense pressure was massive for me. That Silver medal probably means the most out of any medal that I’ve ever won.

The next day, I relaxed so much because each individual one, I knew I could do the routines, so I just enjoyed them on the last day. In Ribbon, I just genuinely had so much fun because the first three apparatus I got Silver, Silver, Silver. I couldn’t believe I kept getting Silvers. I didn’t think it would be possible to get a Gold, so I just enjoyed myself on that routine and I knew it was my last routine ever, so it was a very emotional one, but I just wanted to enjoy every moment of it which I did, and then for it to come out to win, I don’t know, just having the Welsh flag at the top was just incredible. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

there’s more …

Yeah, Glasgow was high, high, high. It didn’t stop coming at me. I don’t think I cried so much happy tears in my life, ever. I thought it was over. I was just really enjoying it, doing different interviews. It just got better and better and better and I thought I’d done with being happy. I was smiling the whole time anyway and then we got to the Closing Ceremony and they gave me a special pass. I knew I had to do an interview for the BBC, so I thought it was something to do with that. So, I went and did the interview and then they pulled me back out to where all the flag bearers were and I didn’t understand why I was there and nobody from my Team even knew why I was there, so it was a bit weird. I had no idea what was going on.

Then a lady came up to me and explained what the David Dixon Award was, which was for outstanding achievement and inspirational things for the Games, and I was stood there thinking, “How can you possibly have picked me out of all the people in this whole entire Commonwealth Games to get this award?” I couldn’t believe that they’d chosen me out of everybody in the whole Commonwealth Games to get such a prestigious award. Such an award for any athlete, I think - other than getting medals - to be told that you’re an inspiration to younger children is just the highest accolade you can ever give to them. It’s just the proudest moment of my life. I couldn’t have even imagined that they could pick me out of all those people. I was in complete shock and then I didn’t have very long between then and going on to the stage and getting the award, and it was the biggest stage I’ve ever been on and it was so loud and I was just stood there like, “What am I doing?” I was stood there holding the David Dixon Award and I think at one point they mentioned Scotland and Glasgow and the noise that came from around the stadium was just ridiculous. I thought I was going to drop the Award and they had already told me that it was worth a lot of money, so I was stood there trying not to drop it. I’m so clumsy anyway. I was really worried. My first British Championships that I won the cup I had managed to drop it on the floor so I was concerned I was going to drop this really expensive thing that they were taking off me straight away as soon as I got off the stage!

It was just the most incredible experience to go from flag bearer, to success in competition for the Team, success overall, individual success, and then I thought I had done with all the smiling and the happiness, and then they came and gave me the David Dixon Award and I couldn’t even explain the emotions that were going on at that moment in time. I think I got back from the Closing Ceremony and some people were going off partying and I was just sat there knackered. I had been through too much emotion to appreciate it at that point. I was just completely exhausted from it all, but it was just the most amazing few weeks of my life.

retiring at twenty-three

It sounds like I’m quite young to retire at 23 but I’ve been doing it for so long. I started when I was six and that’s a long career if you look at it in that perspective and the amount of pressure that goes through your body, especially as I was not suited to gymnastics. My body didn’t want to do it. I made it do it, so I picked up so many niggles and injuries along the way, so it’s been tough to keep up the level that I wanted to, to get to my goal. Originally, my goal was to get to a Commonwealth Games for Wales. So, I did that. And then it turned into Olympics. And then it turned into Commonwealth Games Team and I just did everything I could possibly think of and more, so there’s nothing for me to keep going for. I would rather retire there and see how the younger ones do and help them, because I think I’ve done everything I can do from a performance aspect and there’s so many young ones coming through. I think they’ll be better than me in four years time, anyway. It’s just a really nice place for me to finish. I’m lucky that I can finish at a high point. I feel very privileged to have got there and been part of that Team.

life after gymnastics

I have no idea what I’m really going to end up doing now. I’ve come to university at Cardiff Metropolitan to do a sports conditioning, rehab and massage course. I’m really interested in the rehabilitation side of everything, and I think for me, it was very hard to keep my body in order, and I think sometimes coaches don’t always have all the answers, so I’m really interested in finding out from a gymnastics point of view what can be done to prevent injuries in the first place and how to better manage them.

But I’ve gone for a really broad sport course because I don’t actually know what I’m going to enjoy and what I’m going to be good at. I wanted to see where I end up rather than putting myself in one direction. I think, at the moment, I’m a bit lost without training. I don’t really know where I am going to be, which I have never had before. I’ve always been - I’m aiming for Commonwealth, I’m aiming for this, I’m aiming for that - so I don’t have that specific aim which is very odd, but I want to give myself some time to figure out where and what I want to do exactly before I commit to anything.

legacy

I hope that my legacy can be, just more girls getting involved in sport, whether it be gymnastics or any other sport.

I think before in Wales there were hardly any gymnastic clubs and now they are starting to increase the number, and artistic clubs have started to include a little rhythmic programme and, I think, that’s phenomenal. If you’ve only got an artistic club where you live and you don’t want to do artistic, what do you do? You don’t do anything, do you. So, if more rhythmic gymnastics clubs start, if more little girls can go, then that’s phenomenal for me, so that’s where I want to head now. I want to keep involved in the sport and encourage the growth of it. Just more children being involved in sport.


Three words to describe myself: Never gave up!
Three separate words? Determined, independent, persevering!

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