To celebrate 20 years since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Gymnastics WA recently spoke with our Olympic athletes to hear more about their Olympic experiences. Here is what Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympian, Allana Slater, had to say about her experiences competing on home soil:
What was your favourite Olympic Memory?
In Sydney 2000 I had the patriotic music "I Still Call Australia Home" for my floor routine. I remember the atmosphere in the arena was incredible and thought it couldn't get any better but I was wrong! As the first few notes of my music played, the audience recognised the music and cheered so loudly with excitement. It felt like an extra gust of wind beneath my wings, lifting me higher in my performance. Throughout the routine, I could feel the emotions of the crowd changing with the meaning of the song and at the end of my routine they erupted into clapping and cheering, bringing a smile to my face, not just for the performance I had given but for the incredible feeling it was to perform a patriotic floor routine in front of a 15,000 strong home crowd! It was pure magic!
How did it feel to compete at the Olympic Games?
Competing at the Olympic Games really is incredible. It is the culmination of so much hard work, perseverance and determination to reach the pinnacle of sport. It feels surreal to be there, not only competing in your sport by to be representing your country alongside your fellow athletes from 28 other sports and seeing athletes from countries all around the world in the Olympic Village. There is so much pride and honour wearing the Australian green and gold uniform and it is thrilling to be able to watch athletes strive for their personal best or Olympic glory. Seeing others achieve their dreams is truly amazing and when it is a fellow Australian, the team spirit reaches euphoric levels.
What is your key to achieving your goals?
Dream - no matter how big or small
Believe - in yourself that you can, as so many people around you do
Create - make it happen through hard work, perseverance, resilience and determination
Passion - love what you do every day, it is so important to acknowledge this passion as it is what will help you walk through the door each day with an emotional clean slate
Succeed - all of the above will lead you to be successful on your journey to achieving your dreams
What inspires you?
Losing my dad at the age of 13, I learnt that life is precious and every moment and opportunity should be enjoyed to its fullest and that is important to surround yourself with people who believe in you. My parents always believed in and empowered me to follow my dreams and passion, and this still inspires me to be the best version of myself every day, in all areas of my life from gymnastics, study, judging, work, volunteering, home life and now motherhood.
What was the most important part of your journey?
The most important part of my journey was learning who I am as a person and athlete. This helped me guide my approach to training and competition through my career as I better understood how I would respond in situations and how to get the best performance out of myself. Not only did it help in my gymnastics but also in all aspects of my life after sport and has helped me to become the strong, confident and independent woman I am today.
What advice would you give to aspiring Olympians?
Start every day with a fresh page and an emotional clean slate. Don't let the tough days make you lose sight of the dream, you can always learn something or make small gains from them! Accept that mistakes are part of the journey and are only learning experiences and build resilience as you continue on your journey. Make sure you 'smell the roses' along the way by acknowledging achievements and success.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from Gymnastics?
I learnt early on that it is critical to trust the process and the team around you, along with communicating openly and working in a partnership with your coaches.
Have a look at some videos of Janine performing on the world's stage: