Spotlight on Georgia Godwin

With only days before Georgia jets off to Tokyo to compete as part of the Australian Olympic Team for Women’s Artitic Gymnastics, the GQ team were lucky to have our chance to interrupt her training for a quick interview.

Within minutes of arriving at Delta Gymnastics where Georgia trains, we were welcomed with smiles from parents, coaches, other athletes, and of course Georgia Godwin. We’d heard the rumours that Georgia is so warm and friendly for such an accomplished gymnast, and we were not disappointed to confirm that truth for ourselves!

After watching Georgia train on a number of apparatus (whilst she was also helping her junior athletes, which was delightful to see) we sat down with Georgia for an interview.

When and where did you start gymnastics?

I started gymnastics when I was three years old, on the Gold Coast. I started because mum and dad bought me a trampoline and I just loved jumping around so they enrolled me into a local gymnastics club and it just went from there.

Representing your country and competing at the Olympics, has it always been a dream of yours?

It hasn’t always been a dream of mine. I started gymnastics and I continued because I loved the challenge, I loved learning new skills, and catching up with my friends every day. The dream of going to the Olympics only really started when I moved up to Brisbane and pursued my elite career when I was around 9 or 10 years old. 

[what was the turning point for you?]
The turning point was being accepted into Olga and Sasha’s program in Brisbane. It was the belief that I potentially had what I needed to make it to the Olympics, and that kind of set a fire in my stomach. 

After a disruptive and challenging year that was 2020, how have you kept yourself motivated and focus?

2020 was a very challenging year. I did have days where I was very unmotivated. But on those days, the goal and the dream of going to the Olympics and representing Australia to the best of my abilities and having fun was the main motivator to get up and even do a light stretch or a yoga session on those tough days. On the days I was very motivated, it was the thought of getting stronger and fitter and just as ready as possible for training when I could get back into the gym.

What advice would you give young gymnasts that have the same aspiration in becoming an Olympian?

My advice for young gymnasts is to always believe in yourself. You are always going to have tough days, and on those tough days just remind yourself of your goals, surround yourself with supportive people and just remember that tough days don’t last, tough people do.

Who have been the biggest supporters in your journey to Tokyo?

My biggest supporters? We’d be here for hours. Definitely my mum and dad, they have been there since day dot and I wouldn’t be there without them. My coaches Olga and Sasha and my previous coach Nadia. Nadia taught me the foundations of gymnastics, and Olda and Sasha took it to the next level so I’m forever grateful to them. Delta gymnastics, for providing this amazing facility, and just all my medical staff, my friends, my teammates, other family members who have stuck by me and helped me and guided me when I needed it. 

In times of doubt, what have you told yourself? 

There have been times of doubt, especially in the last year. I’ve just reminded myself of the big picture, of the big goal of going to the Olympics, of reprepresenting my country, and fulfilling this life long dream that so many people have helped me achieve.

What do you love most about gymnastics?

It used to be like, travelling and meaning new people and the adrenaline of competitions, but with Covid… I’m not really…I just love gym. Like I love coming, I love training, I love interacting with everyone and helping the [younger] generation whether that’s with skills or mentally. There’s just all these [other] things that I’m starting to really focus on, and there’s not one definite answer as to why I love gym. It’s just kinda who I am.

[What’s the Delta family like?]
The Delta family to me is the most supportive, loving, caring family that I have ever experienced in a gymnastics community. They’re always reaching out to help me, to help others, and I love that they’re building the foundation of the next generation of gymnasts.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing would have to be the adrenaline rush. You’ve done all the many years of hardwork and it all comes down to 30 seconds on the bars, 1 minute 30 on the floor, and you’ve got to give it your all. If you make a mistake that’s fine, you can always go back to the gym, work on it, fix it up, and go back and give it another crack at the next competition.

[Do you have stories of disappointing competitions?]
Do I ever! One disappointing competition that jumps out to me was the Commonwealth Games 2018. In the day 1 competition I had a stack on the beam where I slid down the side and had a nice little graze and I also made a mistake on the easiest tumble in my floor routine. It was hard but I was able to regroup with the help of my coaches and teammates and take out silver in the all around the next day. So [I went from] disappointment to one of the greatest achievements of my life.

[What was your takeaway from that?]
You’re allowed to feel sad, you’re allowed to feel your emotions, but don’t let it take control of you. I had maybe a 3 minute cry in the shower and said “That’s it. No more pity. Move on” and refocused for tomorrow.

Do you have any rituals before you compete?

I used to have rituals when I was younger. There was one where I had a set of hairclips and they all had to go in the same place. But I actually lost one and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was like, “I’ve lost a hairclip, I can’t compete!” and I had to get help from my coaches and my teammates to help calm me down. I decided to just let go of all of my rituals and just take the day as it came. That was a rough day!

What’s your favourite pump up song?

There’s a couple of them, but I don’t know if I can say them on camera! My all time go to pump up artist would be Queen. All of their songs get my right into the zone. Can’t go wrong with Bohemian Rhapsody and just trying to sing the vocals, the backups, all the instruments.

What is the first thing you will do when you arrive back home after the Games?

First thing I will do when I arrive home from the games is 2 weeks quarantine. During that time I will take time to rest myself mentally and physically. I’m sure I’ll be a couple weeks behind at uni so I’ll catch up on that and just recap what I’ve done and process everything that’s happened.

Who are you excited to see compete at the Games?

One athlete I’m excited to see at the Olympic Games would have to be Simone Biles the American Gymnast. She’s just going strength to strength, every competition she’s doing she’s just improving, so I cannot wait to see what she pulls out at the Olympics. G.O.A.T. I can’t even comprehend.

Past or present, who is your favourite gymnast?

My all time favourite gymnast would have to be Aliya Mustafina from Russia. She’s just been so consistent, so clean with her lines, and she also came back after having a little baby. I find that so inspiring. She’s also come back after so many injuries and obstacles and it’s made her a stronger person, and I find that so inspiring.

What has been your biggest challenge to date in preparation?

My biggest challenge to date would have to be my injuries and a couple mental blocks. They always happen at the worst time, but I do have an incredible medical team around me who can guide me around my rehab [to get the best outcome] of different scenarios. Getting through those is mentally challenging but with the support of everyone I’ve been able to get through each and every injury I’ve ever had.

Is there one final thing you’d like to say to anyone watching?

Thank you to everyone for your constant support. I don’t know if you know how much it means to me, but on my tough days it’s what helps me get through, so I really appreciate it and thank you!