Earlier this year, Georgia Godwin competed at her second Commonwealth Games, becoming the Commonwealth champion in the All-Around and on Vault, and winning individual Silver on the Uneven Bars and Balance Beam in Birmingham. With Team Australia, Georgia won Silver alongside Emily Whitehead, Romi Brown, Breanna Scott and Kate McDonald in Birmingham, after making her Commonwealth Games debut at her home Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast, winning Silver in All-Around and Bronze on the Uneven Bars and in the Team event. At the 2022 Australian Championships, Georgia won Gold in All-Around and on Vault and Balance Beam, Silver in the Team and on Floor and Bronze on the Uneven Bars, and she made her Olympic debut representing Australia at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Georgia has now made the Australian team that will be competing at the 2022 World Championships in Liverpool later this month, and she is aiming to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Chatting to us, Georgia tells us about becoming the Commonwealth champion at Birmingham 2022, competing at the Australian Championships earlier this year and making her Olympic Games debut in Tokyo.
This summer, you competed in Birmingham at your second Commonwealth Games, how was your time staying in the athletes village and what was it like competing at the Arena Birmingham?
This Commonwealth Games was very different to my experience at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I really tried to enjoy this Commonwealth Games a lot more and ‘live in the moment’. The village had an amazing atmosphere, everyone mingled and was very friendly so I really enjoyed that experience. Arena Birmingham was on another level. The crowd was fantastic, cheering for all athletes and really lifting the vibe.
You became Commonwealth champion when you won Gold in the All-Around and on Vault, what was this like?
I am still speechless and can’t put into words what winning the AA Gold and Vault Gold felt like. Winning AA Gold is the first time I have heard the Australian National Anthem for me and it was impossible for me to contain my emotions.
Individually, you also won two Silver medals on the Uneven Bars and Balance Beam, how did you stay focused during your finals and how was it collecting your medals?
Staying focused for finals was a little difficult as the gymnastics schedule was very compact. Having to do four back-to-back days was a little tough but it’s a confidence booster knowing that I can do that, still enjoy the moment and produce results.
As part of Team Australia, you won Silver in the Team event alongside Emily Whitehead, Romi Brown, Breanna Scott and Kate McDonald, what did you enjoy most about representing Australia at this year’s Commonwealth Games?
The thing I enjoyed most was experiencing the Commonwealth Games with incredible Australian team members. The friendship between Emily and I has grown so much over the past few years, so to experience this after both going to the Olympic Games was a lot of fun. Bre, Kate and Romi were a lot of fun to compete with as well and I am keen to compete with them again. The MAG boys were also a lot of fun and so supportive.
How different did you find the experience competing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham opposed to your debut Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast?
Gold Coast was my first Commonwealth Games, so I was very nervous and wasn’t sure what to expect from the whole experience. Everything was new. Birmingham was a lot more relaxed and I was able to enjoy the journey and focus on what I needed to do to prepare and perform my best.
What are some of your favourite memories from competing at a home Commonwealth Games in 2018, which saw you win Silver in the All-Around and Bronze in the Team and on Uneven Bars?
My favourite memory was the home crowd. I don’t think I’ll ever experience that again. It was comforting knowing that my family, friends and so many familiar faces were in the stands. Walking out and hearing the cheers gave me goosebumps.
Earlier this year, you won Gold in the All-Around, on Vault and Balance Beam, Silver in the Team and on Floor and Bronze on the Uneven Bars at the 2022 Australian Championships, can you tell us about your time competing there?
National Championships was an important competition for me and to come away with the results I did was a huge confidence booster in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.
You made your Olympic debut last year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, do you remember how you felt finding out you’d been selected to represent Australia at the Olympics?
I was officially selected after having a named quota spot for about 18 months. It was a relief to finally be able to say I was ‘selected’ to compete at the Olympics but also with COVID and the threat of the Games being cancelled, there were many emotions and thoughts going on in my head at the time.
What was it like competing at the Olympics during the pandemic and how was it being part of Team Australia in Tokyo?
It was my first ever Olympic Games so I have nothing to compare my experience to. I enjoyed every moment and was so grateful to be there. The Aussie team was very close-knit and I felt at home even though I was in a totally different country.
Can you tell us about some of your other stand-out highlights over your career in artistic gymnastics so far?
I am proud to have been named the AA Australian senior international champion six times.
Where does your love of gymnastics come from and how did you start?
My love for gymnastics comes from the challenge of this sport. You don’t just learn one skill and finish there, there’s always bigger and new things to learn. I also love the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and the amazing places I’ve travelled to.
Have you been given any advice throughout your time as a gymnast so far that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a young gymnast starting out?
A piece of advice that my parents have given me that will stick with me forever is that life will always throw challenges your way. You have to keep moving and adapting to overcome these and to do that you need self-belief, confidence, determination and a supportive team around you who you trust.
What is a typical training day for you and how much does your training change in the lead-up to a competition?
A typical training day is two hours in the morning, where I do strength, stretching, ballet and Bars and Beam basics. The afternoon is the bigger session with routines. Training gets shorter closer to comp as it’s more focused on the quality of training instead of the quantity.
Did you have any favourite gymnasts to watch when growing up and is there anything you enjoy most about competing as an elite gymnast?
I loved watching Aliya Mustafina. I always found her gymnastics beautiful and she also had to overcome many obstacles to achieve what she did.
I love the fact that this sport has allowed me to travel to some wonderful places and I’ve also met a lot of amazing, genuinely friendly people.
How do you like to spend your time away from gymnastics?
I like to spend it reading, napping, relaxing with my dogs or hanging with family and friends.
Do you have any competitions coming up that you can tell us about or that you are targeting?
I have the 2022 World Championships coming up later this month in Liverpool, which I’m really excited for. I also have a few competitions next year I’m looking forward to but ultimately it’s the Paris 2024 Olympic Games that I am aiming for.
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