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Worlds Debut Helps Folino See 'Anything Is Possible'
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International Gymnast Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on first-year senior Talia Folino of Australia, who gained experience and inspiration through her performances at this fall's world championships in Montreal.

International Gymnast Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on first-year senior Talia Folino of Australia, who gained experience and inspiration through her performances at this fall's world championships in Montreal.

"Triumphing in Montreal made me realize anything is possible when you put your mind on focusing on your goal," said Folino, who finished 41st all-around in qualifications in her worlds debut. "If you want it so bad you must make those sacrifices that come with teenage fun, and transfer that energy into your passion. You need to train and stay focused for the next big goal, to stand out from the rest."

Folino, who trains under under coaches John Hart and Ukrainian Nadiya Koryakina at Waverley Gymnastics Centre in Mount Waverley, Victoria, credits the club for fostering her competitiveness and helping her concentrate on reaching worlds. Other alumni of Waverley Gymnastics Centre include Olympians Georgia Bonora (2008 and 2012), Shona Morgan (2008) and Larrissa Miller (2012 and 2016); Bonora and Miller now coach at the club.

"It was a great all-around effort with the support I had from my club," said Folino, who turned 16 on May 18. "It gave me the opportunity to focus and dedicate the hours to hard training and gave me confidence to push through the tough skills to get me to my goal for 2017, which was Montreal."

Folino, the 2016 Australian junior national all-around champion, said her transition from junior to senior competition was smooth but noticeable.

"Senior was not a huge step from junior, but almost feels as if I'm a real gymnast, as I have gotten more opportunities," said Folino, who finished first in the Challenge all-around at the 2017 Gymnix International, also held in Montreal, in March.

With her 2017 competition year behind her, Folino plans to devote her training in the near future to increasing her difficulty and improving her execution.

"My focus for the next couple of months is getting my fitness up and upgrading some skills for the next year so my Start Value is higher, but also cleaning up my routines so my execution is higher," she said.

Folino is looking forward to a holiday season surrounded by family and friends.

"I share traditions with my mum's side of the family on Christmas and my dad's side with our cousins," she said. "It's a great family moment to see everyone at the same time in the room and catching up, as I don't have much time to see family all the time. I like to spend my holidays seeing friends and catching up on things I don't often get time to do or see."

Folino's 2018 goals include competing in her home country at the Commonwealth Games — taking place in April in Gold Coast, Queensland — and the world championships in October in Doha, Qatar.

"I haven't really thought of a New Year's resolution, but I would like to work hard on keeping a positive attitude inside the gym, even when things get hard or tough," she told IG. "Commonwealth Games is my best big goal, followed up with worlds."

Next in the series: 2017 European Championships all-around finalist Michalis Krasias of Cyprus details the financial difficulties and other challenges he faces on his way to the top.

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