Danielle Prince, an Australian rhythmic gymnast has competed at the 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships earlier this year.
The 23-year-old rhythmic gymnast trains rigorously in hopes of being chosen as the country’s rhythmic gymnastics representative for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Danni started training rhythmic gymnastics when she was 11 years old, after her dance teacher saw her potential to take up the sport.
“My dance teacher suggested I take it up because I was naturally flexible,” she said. “I was very late into gymnastics. Most of my competitors started at 7 or 8 years old.”
Being a late bloomer in the sport may have helped the Australian rhythmic gymnast to extend her gymnastics career, still competing at the age of 23.
“I’m currently the eldest Aussie athlete competing in the sport. I think the closest to me is about 20.
“Being a slightly older athlete, I’ve been working on my body and strength and conditioning with Pilates and weights sessions. I think it’s definitely helped with longevity in the sport.”
Her gymnastics career started to blossom after winning the team title at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Australia’s first-ever team gold medal.
The Australian gymnast has spent the last 12 months travelling across different countries, with the first half of the year spent living in the United Kingdom.
“I’ve been living and training in the same place for six or seven years. It was good to get over there for personal development, it was like a refresher. Living over there also made it much easier to train and compete in Europe. To be close to Europe is obviously an advantage with European athletes obviously dominating the sport.”
She spent the middle of the year with her family back at her home in Australia, and she also competed in the Australian Championships by the end of May.
“It was really successful for me. I won all six gold senior divisions. It was really icing on the cake.
“I then went to the Budapest World Cup and then onto Stuttgart, Germany.”
Being able to take part at the World Championships in Germany was a great addition to the growing accomplishments of the Australian rhythmic gymnast.
Prince finished with a total score of 42.725 and took the 78th place out of 143 gymnast.
“It was excellent. The venue was beautiful and I was happy with my performance too,” she said.
“I made a mistake in my ball routine but luckily only three scores count out of the four apparatus in the all-around so that was okay.”
“It was uncharacteristic mistake, very frustrating on an easy skill.”
“I think it’s important to go back and analyze the routine, where little mistake happen. The smallest of margins are important, the timings need to be perfect.”
The Australian gymnast is looking forward for the next year’s Rio Olympic Games, and with a team berth on hand, Prince will not waste this opportunity to show off what she got in the Olympics.
“In the lead up to next year in December I’ll be going to Finland to receive new choreography for all four routines. From there I’ll spend I month in Finland working on those changes and intense preparation.
“Then it’s onto the Pacific Rim Championships in April and then hopefully a few World Cups in Europe.
“Being seen by international judges is vital before Rio.”
With a very hectic and busy schedule, it looks like the Quenslander will have no time to rest in the next 9 months.
“I’m currently trying to balance university exams with training.”
“I training 28 hours a week, so about 6 days. I also work at a local primary school in administration. And then I’m studying teaching at the University of Queensland.”
Due to her passion and love for rhythmic gymnastics, Danielle and her family have made huge sacrifices for her to continue her career in the sport.
“I live at home with my family. I couldn’t do it without their help. Five years ago we specifically moved house to be closer to my gym.”
Nevertheless, all the sacrifices and struggles will be all worth it if she’ll get selected to compete at the Olympic Games next year in Rio De Janeiro.
“Rio has been my goal since I started. Words couldn’t describe the honour if I’m selected. It’d be such an honour to represent my country at one of the world’s biggest sporting events.”
Australia looks forward to having one rhythmic gymnast to compete in the Rio Olympics, with the selection scheduled to be announced next year, 2016.
The 2016 Olympic Games will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from 5th to 21st of August 2016.
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