Where are they now: Ashleigh Brennan
In a new series, called Where are they now? we speak to past athletes to find out what they are doing after gymnastics and what role the sport played in their lives.
In the first instalment, Gymnastics Australia sat down with two time Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Olympian Ashleigh Brennan to find out more.
- Can you tell us some the key achievements you reached in gymnastics:
Some of my key achievements include attending two Olympic Games (2008 & 2012), winning gold at two Commonwealth Games (2006 & 2010), being a member of three World Championship Teams, being the National Champion in 2012 and being awarded the Victorian Female Athlete of the Year in 2011.
- What important ‘life lessons’ did gymnastics teach you?
Gymnastics taught me many skills including how to be resilient and deal with challenges, how to adapt in the face of adversity, managing and prioritising my time, being a confident female, enjoying an active lifestyle post sport and being driven to continue to achieve my personal best. Most importantly it taught me that balance in life is a non-negotiable.
- What is your most fond memory of your time in gymnastics?
The Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games were the highlights of my career. However, my childhood hero was Zeena McLaughlin who was the 1998 Commonwealth Games All Around champion, lived close to my house and so she often drove me to training. Having the opportunity to spend time and chat with her was the highlight for me. When I won a silver medal on floor at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, I was so excited to have her present my medal.
- How did your involvement in gymnastics aid in the path that you chose to follow post-sport?
I experienced the highs and lows in gymnastics and I feel that’s now how I’m able to be relatable to people. I work in a mentoring role and in exercise rehabilitation capacity.
- What has been your journey since finishing gymnastics?
After the 2008 Olympics I had a brief retirement and finished my year 12 which I’d taken an extra year to complete just due to the timing of the Games. I then went on to study my Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science while training for the 2012 Olympics. I did a sports science traineeship with the VIS and then studied a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology.
- What job do you do now?
For the past 5 years I’ve worked as an Exercise Physiologist. I also teach gymnastics at a school and present for Sports Integrity Australia.
- Are you involved in any other initiatives?
I’m an ambassador for School Sport Victoria; mentor young athletes for the Sports Excellence Scholarship Fund. I also enjoy being part of gymnastics initiatives such as the GA Team Future Camps, motivational speaking for GV clubs and hosting the GV podcast series.
Most recently a former teammate and I created YOU. Find Your Balance to support young girls to understand their potential, reflect and celebrate their accomplishments and have the confidence to navigate through their journey. You can visit our website at www.findyourbalance.com.au or follow us on Instagram @you.findyourbalance
- How do you define success?
Bring it back to your personal and professional goals. Achieving each step to your large goal creates a sense of accomplishment leading to overall success. If you are confident, empowered and fulfilled, I believe that is a success.
- What is your motto or personal mantra?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Most of the time you’ll find yourself in situations that are not ideal but how you adapt and stay focussed on your goals is key.
- What advice would you give to athletes aspiring to reach their potential in sport and life?
Surround yourself with supportive people who support your goals and aspirations. Stay passionate and love what you do every day. Keep setting and re-evaluating goals and where you’re at. Most importantly, enjoy the process.