Gymnastics provides a pathway to Tokyo

While the gymnastics contingent of the Australian Olympic Team is the largest we have seen in nearly 60 years, there is a cohort of athletes who began their careers alongside our gymnasts and are now set to make their mark in another sport. 

Eleven athletes whose sporting journey started in gymnastics will represent Australia across 6 Olympic sports, being athletics, diving, cycling and weightlifting at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Over the past years we have seen an array of athletes transfer into a range of sports, including Olympic Diver, Matthew Mitcham and Winter Olympians Lydia Lassila and Alissa Camplin 
The Tokyo 2020 crop include several medal and final-potential athletes in their chosen sport, including track cyclist, Matt Richardson.

Richardson was a member of the WAIS Men’s Artistic Gymnastics high-performance program for 4 years. He took out bronze in Level 7 Under All-Around at the 2012 Australian gymnastics Championships, while also competed in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Diver, Nikita Hains was a Junior International categorised gymnast, where she represented Australia in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. 

Most recently, Cassiel Rousseau made the switch from Acrobatic Gymnastics to diving, where he is set to take part in the Men’s 10m Diving Platform in Tokyo.

Rousseau made the transition in 2017 after competing at the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Games.

Helping athletes make the transfer from one sport to another, is a unique national partnership, between the Australian Institute of Sport, Gymnastics Australia, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) and Diving Australia (DA). Project Phoenix provides athletes with support during complex transitional stages and continue to build on athlete pathway programs. 

The project includes initiatives to attract, identify, support, progress and monitor talent, all whilst developing wellbeing and educational initiatives for athletes, parents and coaches.

Gymnastics provides a fundamental platform that helps athletes transition to other sports because of the physical and mental strength it brings. Gymnasts who choose to transfer may have hit a performance ceiling, might be looking for a new challenge or may just be better suited to achieving success in another sport.

We wish the following athletes all the best over the coming two weeks. 

Athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:

- Amy Cashin – Steeplechase 
- Nina Kennedy – Pole Vault

Artistic Swimming
- Amie Thompson

Canoe Slalom Kayak
- Jessica Fox

- Cassiel Rousseau 
- Nikita Hains 
- Esther Qin 
- Sam Fricker 

Track Cycling
- Matt Richardson 

- Kiana Elliott 
- Erika Yamasaki