Although 2012 Olympic all-around finalist Céline van Gerner returned to serious training only three months ago, she is already eager to take the next step in her comeback at next month's world championships in Nanning.
Van Gerner, who finished 12th all-around at the 2012 London Olympics, won the all-around title and helped the Dutch women win the team title at a tri-meet against France and Austria that took place this past weekend in Rouen.
This week she was among seven gymnasts named to the Dutch team for Nanning. The other gymnasts include Shirley van Deene, Vera van Pol, Maartje Ruikes, Lisa Top, and twins Lieke Wevers and Sanne Wevers.
In this IG Online interview, van Gerner explains the challenges she has faced as she prepares for Nanning, and how she views Nanning in terms of her competitive future.
Céline van Gerner at the 2012 Olympics
IG: What are your thoughts heading into Nanning, based on how well you did in Rouen?
CVG: First of all, I'm very happy being able to compete again at the international highest competitions! I'm feeling great, loving the sport, and I hope people can see that feeling back in my routines.
IG: What exactly were the injuries/reasons that you have not competed in so long?
CVG: I've had to overcome two hard years, being injured and not really knowing how to see the future. When I was getting back in shape in the summer of 2013, I broke my right ankle on the same spot as it was broken on my left ankle at the end of 2011. Surgery was necessary, which went really well, but my ankle had to heal by staying rested. That was taking a few months, and I was kind of tired of being injured all the time. So I took a step back from gymnastics and took some time to think about what I really wanted.
In June 2014 I decided to start serious training again. Both of my ankles were and are still feeling really good, so I asked myself a question. If I wanted to do gymnastics again, I had to start now! It was an easy decision, because I still wasn't done with gymnastics. I knew I had to start all over again, but I had set my first goal on Nanning 2014.
I came a long way in four months, but it was all worth it. It feels good to be back, so my thoughts heading into Nanning are most of all thankful.
IG: Between now and Nanning, what will be the focus of your training?
CVG: The focus of my training will most of all be on the dismounts, especially my full-in from bars, which an important missing skill.
IG: What do you think you will need to show in Nanning, in order to regain your high international ranking as in the past?
CVG: I see Nanning as a great first step in this cycle for me. Because it has been a short period of time, I won't pressure myself too hard for being in a final. I know that, for a high ranking, my routines need to be upgraded. But that's for something for after Nanning. Right now I am more than happy to compete again!
Read "Just Verdict," a profile on van Gerner, in the July/August 2012 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital versions of International Gymnast magazine, click here..