World Champion Lauren Mitchell Reflects On Her Career

Continuing on Gymnastics Australia’s 70th anniversary celebrations, Australia’s most successful and decorated Women’s Artistic Gymnast, Lauren Mitchell, looks back on her time in the sport.

“As cliché as it sounds my favourite moment from when I was competing was when I won my World Championship gold medal,” Mitchell said. 

“It was one of the most incredible moments being able to watch the Australian flag rise above the other flags knowing that you, along with the team surrounding you, were the able to achieve that.”

Mitchell, a Gymnastics Australia Hall of Fame inductee went on to represent Australia at 2 Olympic Games (2008, 2012), 4 World Championships (2007, 2009-11) and 2 Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014). 

Mitchell was crowned the Floor World Champion in 2010 and the year before she became a duel Silver medalist at the 2009 World Championships on Balance Beam and Floor. 

“Since I was little I always wanted to go to the three major competitions for gymnastics, the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Worlds. 

“It was like no other feeling standing up on the top of the dais knowing that all your hard work and dedication had resulted in such an amazing accomplishment.

“I don't think that there is anything else that is able to compare with that feeling, it's one that you can't really describe and I don't think that I'm ever going to get that feeling again with anything else that I do in life.”

Mitchell began gymnastics at six years old and has been able to see firsthand how the sport has changed over the years.

“I think that gymnastics has turned from a very artistic sport, which was quite conservative and very pretty to watch, to a more power sport,” Mitchell said. 

“The skills that some of the girls are throwing these days are amazing and it is awe-inspiring to watch.

“That's a credit to the gymnasts and the coaches and the way that everyone in the world has pushed each other to be better and develop these incredible skills.”

Gymnastics has the opportunity to take athletes anywhere as it did for Mitchell and she is excited for what is to come.

“To be honest, I have no idea where the sport is going to go in the next 10 years. 

“If someone had asked me that question 10 years ago, I would not have imagined that the sport would be where it is today, especially with Simone Biles dominating for so many years, and Romania not even making it into the last Olympics.

“Gymnastics is such a dynamic sport where anything can happen, and I'm really excited to see where the sport is going to be in the next 10 years!”

Retirement can be a tough process for athletes when they have to leave their sport behind. Mitchell has been able to stay slightly involved while still being able to move on and have a life outside of gymnastics. 

“Unfortunately I am not involved with the WAG program or gymnastics very much these days,” Mitchell said. 

“I am part of the High Performance Advisory Committee with Gymnastics WA which aims to develop High Performance in all the Gymsports in WA and to assist with the delivery of Gymnastics WA’s strategic priorities in High Performance.

“It was sad leaving the sport after I retired, however this was the best thing for me as because if I was still involved I would have never been able to retire properly or leave the sport behind completely, whilst being able to start the next chapter of my life.”