Acrobatic Gymnasts Nat O’Neill and Kate Ryan have returned to the sport with a bang, competing at the Australian Gymnastics Championships in 2022 after they first attended as athletes 20 years ago. The two athletes competed in the National competition in L8 WG along with their top, Naoka Zein.
Nat and Kate began their partnership back in 2013, where they competed L9 and then L10 later that year. They then both took quite a break to prioritise life, work and family before realising how much they missed the sport and returning to the gym in 2018. Nat and Kate have been training together since then.
Nat first got involved in gymnastics at five years old after watching one of her cousins compete in a gym competition. She soon developed a love for the sport and spent the next ten years doing Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Nat has proudly represented Western Australia at ten National competitions now. “Our last Nationals together was 2013 and we finally made it back there, nine years later, four kids later, in 2022,” says Nat.
Kate began gymnastics when she was only four years old after she attended a gymnastics class with a friend and fell in love with the sport. Like Nat, she did Women’s Artistic Gymnastics for ten years, Kate began Acrobatic Gymnastics in 2002. Kate’s resume includes representing both Western Australia and Queensland at a total of seven National competitions. Her favourite competition, though, is when she competed at World Champs in Poland in SNR Women’s Group. Now a mother of two in her 40s, Kate has returned to the sport and has led the development of the acrobatic Masters Program here in WA.
Western Australia is the first Australian state to have an acrobatic Masters Program. The aim of the Masters Program is to create an entry point so that anyone can participate in Acrobatic Gymnastics, regardless of experience or background. “You can get involved no matter what your background is,” says Kate, “if you’re new to acrobatics, we’ve got a Masters level for you. If you’re new to gymnastics, we’ve got a Masters level for you, or if you’re an ex-elite gymnast who wants to come and have a play, there’s also a level suited to you.”
Nat and Kate plan to stay involved in the sport for as long as they can. The two athletes are pleased to be involved with the Masters Program for acrobatics, which provides an opportunity for athletes to stay in the sport or find sport later in life.
Gymnastics WA wishes to thank Nat and Kate for taking the time to share their stories. We’re proud to have such inspirational members in our community who encourage others to continue participating in gymnastics.