Georgia on beam at the 2016 British Championships. With thanks to Myriam Cawston
Sometimes you don’t have to be at your very best for everyone to sit up and take notice, sometimes when it goes wrong, all people see are all the things you are doing right.
On Sunday 10th April, Georgia Mae Fenton took part in her first apparatus finals as a senior gymnast, competing on bars and floor. She fell four times, but that’s not what stood out about this young British gymnast. I have written a fair amount about Georgia over the year I have written this blog, as she competed four times internationally over 2015. Particularly I have enthused about her bars technique, her clean lines and extension, and her presentation. Georgia demonstrated these same qualities at the British championships, along with a never before seen bars skill and combination, only this time her work brought her to the attention of gymnastics fans not just in Great Britain, but world wide.
For those that follow junior gymnastics in Great Britain Georgia needs no introduction, British AA Espoir Champion in 2013, British Espoir bars Champion 2013, AA junior bronze medalist and bars champion in 2015, Georgia has been winning medals nationally for some time now. For those that are not familiar with Georgia’s career up to this point, you can read about her here in the meet the seniors post I did at the beginning of 2016.
So after a rollercoaster of a British Championship, lets catch up with Georgia to hear her own views on how it went, her new skills, the injury that held her back before the championships, and her gymnastics in general.
Hi Georgia, congratulations on competing at your first senior British championships. This was your first all around competition of 2016 having broken your hand in February, can you tell us a little about how the injury happened?
Thank you. I broke my hand in the middle of February doing a new floor skill, handspring double front i just put my hand behind me on my landing. I was out of training on bars for 5 weeks but I worked around my other pieces and after 3 weeks I competed at British Teams with watered down routines. I had great physio from EIS lots of icing and determination not to let it get to me after 2 weeks I was X-rayed and the bones had started to heal so I was allowed light work but no bars.
You competed at teams and the English championships, but had to water down, and miss bars completely. Was it very frustrating for you, or were you happy just to able to compete at all so close to the injury?
Well I didn’t know I was even going to be able to compete at the competitions so that was an achievement. As you said I had to water down beam and vault. So I put in a new spin on beam. But I had my full beam and vault for the English Championships. I was frustrated that I couldn’t train or compete bars as its my favourite piece but I had to stay positive to overcome my injury.
Can you tell us a little about how your training went over the winter prior to the injury, how were you feeling coming into your first senior year?
I felt confident going into my first senior year but I knew it was going to be harder than my junior years. Training had been going well and l had lots of upgrades ready and other skills that I was working on for the future.
Lets talk about your bars, you have always been very strong here, as well as clearly having very good technical coaching from an early age. Has this piece always come more easily to you?
Yes bars has always come more naturally to me and has been my preferred piece from young. But bars makes me the most nervous as I want to perform well on it.
You upgraded your bars considerably this year, the Ricna into shoot half you did beautifully in the AA, the Ricna half which is a completely original skill you caught both in the AA and the apparatus finals, and the Ezhova you didn’t quite make. We haven’t seen either the Ricna half or the Ezhova from you before, so to connect the two was quite some upgrade!
How long have you been training the Ricna with the half turn for, were you aware it was an original skill?
I could already do a toe tkatchev half but my coach Lorraine and I discussed doing stalder tkatchev half and that it would be an original skill. I was excited.
I started working on the stalder tkatchev half in December and I caught my first one so I continued to work it.
The same with the Ezhova how long have you been training the skill? When did you start working on connecting the two, and how long did you have the connection consolidated for before you broke your hand?
I started working the ezhova a few days after. Once I could do the ezhova we started connecting the two over piled up mats and within 5 sessions of connecting them I had them on the proper bars and started working the routine.
Knowing that you had all your skills ready, were you frustrated having not had the training time coming into the competition, did you just want to shout to everyone that you absolutely can do the new combination?
I was more upset because I wanted to show everyone my new skills and to show how hard I had been working over the winter. But also frustrated because of all the new skills I had only a very short space of time before the competition.
Tell us a little about your bar routine in apparatus finals, there will be many young gymnasts who at times have routines with several falls, and feel demoralised. What did you say to yourself to finish off strongly, what advice would you give them?
Well my bar routine was a disaster to say the least. I don’t give up easily, I’ve had a tough gymnastics career and I will not to give up and I’ll fight till the end. I’d say to younger gymnasts don’t get demoralised its not over till it’s over and if you’ve worked hard enough and done the numbers hard work will always pay off. My routine may not have gone to plan but hopefully with more hard work and preparation it will do.
Moving on from bars, you are also noted for the extension in your work, and your commitment to performance on both beam and floor. How important is the artistic element of gymnastics to you?
It is very important to me I am not a powerful gymnast and I need to use the artistic side of the code of points to my benefit. I am getting stronger but I know I will never be a powerhouse but with good technique I can still get good skills. I like my gymnastics to look beautiful as artistic gymnastics should.
As well as bars, we have seen you upgrade on beam and floor so far this year, do you have any other upgrades you are planning, or any that would have been ready were you able to work on your hand coming up to the British?
I’ve been working on full twisting double backs and triple twists on tumble track but not on floor yet. Hand Spring double fronts on floor and twisting connections of track too. On vault I’ve just got my FTY so I’d like to get a DTY in the future. Bars I can stalder shap and for the future I’ve also been working double double dismounts.
You have been training at East London for just over a year now, tell us a little about your experiences there?
East London is great I’ve learnt more skills in the space of a year than I ever have. I’ve grown more confident and I can sit and discuss with Lorraine my coach when things are going wrong. I like her approach to training and I feel comfortable within my club I also laugh everyday with Tyesha we are good friends.
You train alongside fellow British Senior Tyesha Mattis, you are almost complete opposites as gymnasts, do you find that you can both help each other progress in different areas?
Definitely Tye helps me with the bigger skills and I can help her with the artistic side. We are good for each other.
Which of your achievements in gymnastics are you the most proud of?
I’d say firstly was making the GB squad it was something I wanted from my first day starting gymnastics at 7 1/2 then my British titles, making the team for EYOF and representing my country internationally.
Which elements of gymnastics do you feel you have to work the hardest at, how do you motivate yourself when something is difficult for you?
I have to work the hardest on vault it’s hard to generate the power. I really am a motivated person so I don’t need encouragement to get in the gym and train. When something is difficult I have to think through the skill visualise it and get back up occasionally there’s tears though I’m only human haha. My love for gymnastics has never changed I loved it the first day I walked into a gym club.
Finally, what are your hopes and plans for the rest of this year, and moving into the next quad?
I’ve got loads of hopes for this year and the future I’d sooner not say what they are but I’ll just keep working hard to try to achieve them. Fingers crossed xx
A big thank you to Georgia for taking the time to do this interview, I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing her the best of luck for the future as she continues to bring truly artistic gymnastics to the competition floor.