head over heels
TWELVE year old Georgia Stefaniak of Beechworth has always defied gravity.
Her mother Annie said she first learned of her talented gymnastic daughter’s strength and flexibility when, as an endlessly active little girl, Georgia would spend hours hanging off the clothesline or climbing everything she could. “She was always quite strong,” Annie said. A former gymnast herself, Annie said she wanted Georgia to explore her talents and potential and enjoy herself, and Georgia has been involved in gymnastic classes and training since before she started school.
A typical day might include up to four hours of training at Flyaway Gymnastics on the Border, as well as school in Thurgoona, but Annie said Georgia’s enthusiasm for the sport never wavers and her daughter still routinely wakes her up in the morning to help her get to gymnastics.
“Even when she’s got time off, she’s just flipping around everywhere,” Annie laughed.
And those years of training have seen Georgia rise to prominence in the gymnastics world.
Georgia was crowned the Victorian State Champion last month for National Level 8 and has earned the right to represent Victoria in the Australian Gymnastics Championships at Hisense Arena in Melbourne this week.
It is the second time she has competed nationally, having competed at National Level 7 in 2017.
Georgia said she is passionate about the pastime as it challenges her on a number of levels.
“I love gymnastics as it pushes me mentally and physically and makes me determined,” the youngster said.
“When I do routines I feel confident and am concentrating on not falling.”
She has a number of heroes in the sport of gymnastics, including Ashton Locklear and Aly Raisman.
“I would love to meet Ashton one day,” Georgia said.
“Ashton has recently had a major shoulder injury and has only just got back into everything, and as I have a shoulder injury, it helps me to see what she does so I can continue gymnastics with determination.
“She is an inspiration for me to push through tough times and to continue through pain.
“Another inspirational gymnast is Aly Raisman.
“I love Aly, as she is a humble and outstanding gymnast. “Aly has had many great achievements.” Annie said Georgia is skilled in a number of gymnastic disciplines, specialising in vault, bars, beam and floor, and has been especially successful in floor, winning the state championship in the discipline last year and winning a silver medal this year.
She said Georgia’s current main goal is to work up to a National Level 10 in her chosen disciplines.
Annie said she is proud of the continued work Georgia puts into her gymnastics, and of her being one of the select few being chosen for state and national championship teams.
Georgia said she aspired to continue success in her sport, whatever form that may take.
“My goal is to always train and compete to my best ability, success will then follow,” Georgia said.
“Our main aim is that she just enjoys it,” Annie added.
Anyone looking to attend the Australian Gymnastic Championships, at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, can find tickets through Ticketek.
UPSIDE DOWN: Even at 13, Beechworth based gymnast Georgia Stefaniak is already competing at a national level.
WINNING: Georgia Stefaniak has had much success in state and national gymnastics.