From Rio to Melbourne: Sanne returns to competition

Life certainly has taken a twist for Sanne Wevers since defeating American superstar Simone Biles on the balance beam in Rio. Last year, the 24 year old Dutch star found herself on the cover of magazines and the star of galas after she grabbed the Olympic gold medal that many expected Biles to add to her growing collection.

With that medal came fame, and Sanne and her twin sister and fellow Olympian, Leike, became hot property in their native Netherlands. But now, Sanne says is ready to return to the gym and next week in Melbourne she will return to competition for the first time since Rio glory last August.

Sanne Wevers is one of the headline acts in next week’s Gymnastics World Cup at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena. She will compete on the balance beam and can’t wait to get back into routine.

‘’It will be my first competition since the Olympics and I am excited about that. I will try to do some new stuff because the code has changed, I am just taking it one step at a time, it is the first step to the European (Championships) in April,’’ she told Gymnastics Australia last week.

Sanne and Lieke Wevers, along with their coach – who also happens to be their father – Vincent, have been hosting a series of training sessions and clinics in Melbourne over the past week. They have enjoyed working with young gymnasts and hope to inspire the next generation. 

“The girls were very excited,’’ said Lieke.  ‘’We hope we can make it more possible for them, we didn’t have the easy road to the success we have had, (our message) it is more like keep going and not to give up on the dream, and maybe at 25 you can make it to the Olympics.’’

Sanne said she had enjoyed the reaction to her medal winning performance in Rio, but is now keen to return to training and competing.

‘’It was that busy with all the shows and the galas and the TV shows and things like that, I just did not really have the time to train. In January, we said that is it, close the doors a little bit! We want to go back into the gym and focus on training again. Itis also nice to start working on new achievements and things like that,’’ said Sanne.

The Dutch star is excited about competing in Melbourne and hopes having a tournament of such quality and importance can help young Australian gymnasts.

‘’It is inspiring for the younger gymnasts, it gives them an awareness of the beauty of the sport, to inspire young gymnasts to start working on something, to see how you go in such big competitions.

‘’I know that many times Australians have to travel very far to go overseas to be in the great competitions, it is nice for us to come here and great gymnasts from the world can come here.’’

Words by Karen Lyon