WEEK #6: EMMA S.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 16 years old and currently in my 11th grade of high school at “École Père René de Galinée” in Cambridge, Ontario. I go to an all french high school since I am bilingual and have been speaking french since I started talking! I have two younger sisters and a little puppy named Charlie! When I am not in the gym, I enjoy baking, taking pictures, listening to music and hanging out with my friends.
I am part of the Canadian Senior National Gymnastics team and I’ve had the opportunity to represent my country on the International stage numerous times. My biggest accomplishment in gymnastics was being selected to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2018. At that competition, I was able to make many international friends and so many amazing memories that will last a lifetime! While competing there, I was the team captain for the mixed country team of the competition with athletes from China, Turkey, Austria and many more countries! I also won a Bronze medal on vault. I won the first ever medal for a Canadian gymnast in Youth Olympic history and became the first female artistic gymnast to win a medal for gymnastics at any Olympic event. To top off that experience, I was chosen by the Canadian Olympic Committee to be the Flag Bearer for Canada at the closing ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games because of my sportsmanship and accomplishments. Now, I am working hard towards my goal of representing Canada at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 coming up this summer!
What is a barrier you have faced in sport and how did you overcome it?
A barrier I have had to face in my sport would be joining gymnastics a bit later than most gymnasts. I started at the recreational level at age 7 and started competing at age 8. To overcome this, I have had to rush the learning process of my skills a bit to be able to catch up and in order to have a higher difficulty skill level like the rest of my teammates. I’ve also had to work really hard to stay strong and healthy to handle all of my training, 27 hours per week. Another barrier would be that I am taller than the average gymnast (around 5’5”). Because of this, I am not able to use many mats on bars for training cause I hit them, I have to jump a bit higher for all of my flips, and change my technique a bit to adjust to my body compared to the other gymnasts on my team. To overcome this, I work different muscles to be able to flip my body faster and work extra hard in practices to be able to accommodate my body’s size, as well as making sure to recover properly (sleep, physio, etc…).
What is the best advice you’ve received as a leader or athlete and how do you apply it?
The best advice I’ve received is to “trust yourself and the process”. I get a bit anxious about wanting to be very good at skills as soon as I try them and it sometimes frustrates me if I can’t do it right away. But when one of my coaches- Denis Vachon, told me to believe in myself and keep working, that there will be a result in the future, I was able to focus, do my skills and perform them properly. Because of this advice, I know the importance of trusting the process and how things take time to learn, but if you work hard and take your time, you are able to achieve so much, in and out of sport.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?
Advice I would have for parents, coaches and sport administrators to encourage and improve sport for females, would be to advertise and highlight female athletes accomplishments. This allows the girls to be inspired and think that they are capable of achieving great things in sports. Because there aren’t as many female athletes as male athletes, it is sometimes not as motivating for young females to want to try new things.
Another thing would be to let them know you are proud of them! It never hurts to tell someone they are doing well and sometimes a little positive comment here and there can be super motivating and help the girls become more confident and want to be more active.