OLYMPIAN TO COACH
Past Olympians: Sam Simpson
Not only did Sam Simpson represent Australia in gymnastics at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he took on the world at the 2003, 2006 and 2007 World Championships, won bronze at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2001 and a silver in the men's team at the 2003 Festival. He now dedicates his time to coaching full-time as the Sydney Gymnastics and Aquatic Centre (SGAC) Gymnastics Program Coordinator.
How old were you when you got into gymnastics?
I started KinderGym at three, and competed at my first state championships at just eight years of age.
When did you know that gymnastics could be something really big for you?
It was when I was first selected to represent Australia when I was 14.
What was your training schedule like in the lead up to the Olympics?
We did weights-based gym work for about two hours on Monday and Friday mornings, and the rest of the time - Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Monday to Saturday mornings and afternoons - were on the gym floor and dedicated to gymnastics skills, training and routines.
What do you remember about your performance in Beijing?
Not a lot! I just focused on my events, giving a good performance and not making any mistakes. It was over so quickly and suddenly it was finished and I looked around and realised I was in a stadium with 18,000 other people. I guess that’s what good preparation does for you!
How has being an Olympian changed how to see life?
It’s not so much competing at the Olympics – it’s more the role gymnastics has played in my life overall. Training camps, the people I trained with, championships and all that goes with it has had a big effect – the Olympics was one part of that.
What advice would you offer someone competing at that level?
If you really want it, you need to do the work. Keep up the training. You have to have the will to put in the work – it’s more important than the will to succeed. Your goal should be the training – success is the result not the main focus