Emma Nedov, 20 years of age is a member of the Australian Gymnastics Women’s Team that competed earlier this year at the Rio test event. In 2014 her and her team did extremely well, placing 7th at the World Championships.
Check out the interview below, where we had the opportunity to get personal and gain new insights into both Emma’s life and gymnastics.
1) How have you been feeling post the test event in Rio and not being able to compete at the Rio Olympics?
Pretty much after the test event when we realised we didn’t make it there were obviously mixed emotions within the team. We all sat down and had a chat about it. Personally, when I came back I thought to myself is this really worth continuing because we don’t really get a lot out of this and another 4 years is a long time to put your life on hold. I had a 3 month break to clear my head and a lot of the girls did the same thing – had some time off to think things through. I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll give it a shot for at least another 2 years, just till Commonwealth Games. However, I’m just going to see how it goes.
2) Was it quite shocking news to you guys that you didn’t make the team or were you semi prepared?
We weren’t full expecting it because we had a lot of hope. Since worlds in 2015 we had improved honestly so much but it just happened to be that the other teams did as well. We had already been behind, pretty much luck of the draw. We actually put out one of our best performances and were only 0.2 points behind.
3) What do you think about the gymnastics funding system in Australia?
The funding system in Australia for all sports goes off a ranking system and if the sport has potential of winning medals for Australia. At the moment gymnastics not just as women’s gymnastics but also as a whole we’re not that good compared to the rest of the world, which is due to various reasons. One being our population size, only 1% are elite gymnasts. Whereas in America, there is so many people doing it and gymnastics is a big sport to them. When there is a competition on there is so much hype around it, it’s like our rugby event for us.
4) How is U.S gymnastics different to Australian gymnastics?
Their system of how they become Olympic gymnasts is completely different to our system. In Australia there is a levels stream and elite stream, you are put in one or the other and you don’t really venture out of it. They are brought up completely different; the coaching level is extremely different as well. There seems to be significantly less girls in the elite stream as it is much tougher I suppose. In the USA, everyone starts at level 1 and you go up and up till you reach level 10. Their level 10 gymnasts are as good as our elite gymnasts. Then you compete at a competition and qualify to become an elite gymnast. Once you are an elite gymnast you go to national camps to be selected for the Olympics but if you don’t want to go to the Olympics you can get a scholarship and go to college. It works completely different and that’s why there are so many people doing it.
5) Do you think that part of the reason for Australian’s gymnastics results are due to the fact that there is a lack of funding in this area?
Yes and no. In 2014 we came 7th at Worlds, it was amazing I was on the team. And pretty much in 2015 lots of people got injured including myself and the team came 14th at Worlds. I wouldn’t say that funding had anything to do with that because we have never had a lot of funding but been able to produce good results. I think it’s more so that as a result of lack of funding a lot of girls don’t make it as far as we have. I wouldn’t say funding is the reason for our poor results but definitely a contributing factor to why we don’t have enough elite girls so when people get injured it’s hard for us as we don’t have many replacements at our level.
6) What are your thoughts about WAIS shutting down?
As heartbreaking as it is, I understand it, as they have not produced any results since 2010. They have been getting their funding off Lauren’s standing and she’s retired now. They shut their men’s program down years ago so I think it was to be expected that the women’s program was going to be shut down soon.
7) What has gymnastics taught you in life?
That’s a tough question! I would say a lot of things to be honest. It teaches you to grow up really quickly and to mature and deal with situations that a normal kid wouldn’t deal with. Such as travelling with your parents at the age of 12; you go to competitions and you have nerves, which you have to learn how to deal with. It teaches you a lot of discipline and I would say overall gymnastics gives you good life lessons and I think lots of children should do it.
8) What do you hope to do in the future?
At the moment like I said, I’m focusing on gymnastics and I’ll be training for another 2 years and try for Commonwealth Games. But I’m also at that point in life where I want to get a job and I want to figure out what I want to do at uni – I’m still unsure about what I want to study at uni.
(Interview conducted: 26th September 2016)