Commonwealth Games champion Georgia Godwin speaks for the sport’s young gymnasts

“Everyone should feel safe.”

Georgia Godwin’s Commonwealth Games campaign was one of the few athletes who could dream. After winning gold on individual vault and a second silver on uneven bars, Godwin felt the huge roars of support from a packed stadium in Birmingham, as those at home could only shout loudly from the comfort of their living room. But at a time when gymnastics as a whole continues to grapple with controversies surrounding the abuse of power by coaches and coaches, Godwin can only hope her achievements at the Commonwealth Games will encourage young women who look to home to take up sports.

Allegations have been made against Gymnastics Australia over an independent cultural review conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission which was published in May 2021, it found that ‘systemic risk factors’ abound in the sport, including child abuse and neglect, misconduct, bullying, abuse, sexual harassment and assault of athletes, according to reports from The Guardian. But Godwin wants young gymnasts to know that the sport can be safe.

Although she was shocked by such claims and found the allegations disturbing, Godwin admitted to blocking conversation surrounding gymnastics and its controversies as she found it detrimental to her mental health ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Still, she is hopeful for the sport’s future.

“I do my best to try to show that gymnastics is a safe sport and everyone should feel safe doing gymnastics,” she said. “And we’re going in the right direction, so it’s really exciting to see.”

At 24, Godwin is older than a number of her competitors and as such has taken on a motherly role in competitions, as she sees it as her responsibility to protect and safeguard the young girls who get into sports. . “I really try to take them under my wing and show them what sportsmanship looks like,” she told reporters.

After undergoing two ankle surgeries last year, Godwin’s future in the sport looked uncertain and she flirted with the idea of ​​skipping the Commonwealth Games altogether. It made his victory on Tuesday morning a special victory, not only a testament to his prowess in the sport, but also to his mental toughness and resilience.

She came very close to securing a third gold medal on uneven bars, only to be edged out by England’s defending champion, Georgia-Mae Fenton. But while she settled for silver (which isn’t a consolation prize), she also has the chance to win a fifth medal in the beam on Wednesday morning (AEST).

Speaking of the Commonwealth Games and the atmosphere surrounding the competition, Godwin could only speak positively. “I just come to these competitions and have fun and do my best and the medals are a huge bonus,” she said. “I’ve learned that putting that expectation on me doesn’t help,” she added.

“The medals are a huge bonus, but just being here going through this, being in the Australian team wearing the green and the gold, is enough for me. I always go out and do my best .

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