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Interview: Georgia Bonora (AUS)
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Bonora at the 2006 Worlds

One of nine women in contention for the 2008 Australian Olympic team, Georgia Bonora outlines the journey she hopes will take her to the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The 18-year-old Bonora placed fifth at the Australian Championships (May 22-25 in Melbourne), earning a spot on her country's nine-woman Olympic training squad. The other gymnasts include Dasha Joura and Shona Morgan, both of whom secured Olympic team berths based on their one-two finish at the championships; as well as Ashleigh Brennan, Lauren Mitchell, Emma Dennis, Olivia Vivian, Amber Fulljames and Melanie Jones.

Bonora and the other eight gymnasts will attend a training camp June 22-29 at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Following a final selection trial on June 28-29, the final Olympic nominations — six gymnasts and two reserves — will be announced by Gymnastics Australia on June 30.

Born in Melbourne on May 19, 1990, Bonora trains at Waverley Gymnastics Center in Mount Waverley, Victoria. Bonora's coaches are John Hart and Shaoyi Jiang, and her choreographer is Stacey Umeh-Lees, the sister of 1992 Canadian Olympian Stella Umeh. Bonora's clubmates at Waverly include fellow Olympic training squad members Morgan and Dennis.

Bonora was a member of Australia's sixth-place team at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark; and was the alternate on the 11th-place team at the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart.

In this IG Online interview, Bonora comments on the work that has led her to Olympic team consideration, and the finishing touches she wants to make in order to get to Beijing.


IG: Georgia, congratulations on your performance at nationals.

GB: Thank you. I still made some mistakes, but I plan on fixing those before the final selection camp.

IG: You moved up from seventh place in 2007. What made the difference in your results this year?

GB: Well, I just buckled down and concentrated on the areas that needed work. I stayed relatively healthy this year, so that helped. We are given quite detailed feedback from each camp and competition, so there is no excuse for not fixing things that were asked of us. Also, I took only one class at school this year. That helped me keep the stress level down, so I had the time to do both gym and studies well.

IG: Between now and the final team selection, what aspects of your gymnastics are you targeting for improvement?

GB: Obviously, the same as everyone else — stay healthy and work on consistency. I am also really working on staying positive. I have learned from the past that negativity just wastes time and energy, and it is not fun either! I really try to enjoy my gym experience.

IG: Going back in time, when and why did you choose gymnastics?

GB: Like everyone else, my mum wanted me to expend my energy anywhere but on her furniture! My older sister was already in gymnastics, so she took me there, hoping to tire me out.

IG: You were a solid member of the team at the 2006 Worlds, and alternate on the 2007 Worlds team. How did you maintain and build your confidence so you could move up into a place on the starting team in 2008?

"Peggy [Liddick] is always telling us to convince her that you are the one she can rely on in a podium situation. That is what I am trying to do."

GB: Well, I knew what I needed to do. My coaches, the national coach [Peggy Liddick] and I had a meeting at the first camp of the year and really narrowed down what I should concentrate on, and tried to eliminate all the things that I could not control. So, I just tried to follow that plan as closely as I could. Some things I accomplished and some things still need more attention. So that is what I will do over the next month. Peggy is always telling us to convince her that you are the one she can rely on in a podium situation. That is what I am trying to do.

IG: Your 2008 training squad is missing [retired] Hollie Dykes and Chloe Sims, two key members of past two Worlds teams. How do you think you and your teammates have been able to rally and build a solid team for Beijing without them?

GB: We have a really good team culture, and all the gymnasts that participated in the nationals and the first Olympic Trial are really great gymnasts with great and positive attitudes. They really bring something to the team. We all have attended the camps, we all had detailed feedback, so it was up to us to go to our home gyms and do the work, come back to camp and show our progress or show our results at the trials, which we did. So I think everyone is very focused on the team and trying really hard to maintain that culture with a good individual performance. We all respect each other very much, and our coaches all work well together. I think the best gymnasts will eventually make the team. No matter who it is, we know that the selectors have a difficult job, but in the end, we know that all of us at the final camp and trial deserved to go to Beijing.

IG: What are your realistic goals for Beijing, individually and as a team?

GB: I don't like to make predictions, but we just want to have a good performance and see where we can place amongst the teams of the world. We have yet to show our real potential. I still need to go through the second selection trial, so I personally am not thinking beyond that.

IG Online Related Features
Interview: Olivia Vivian
Joura Leads Oz Olympic Squad (May 25, 2008)
Joura Wins Third Straight Title (May 23, 2008)
Joura Leads Australian Nationals (May 22, 2008)
Joura: "Onward and upward" for Australian Women's Team (April 2, 2008)

IG Magazine Related Features
"The Joy of Joura" - profile (March 2007)
Joura on cover (July/August 2006)
Interview: Lauren Mitchell (March 2008)
"National Pride" - Dennis profile (September 2007)

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