Keeping her eyes on the Olympic prize
The goal is huge, the work will be hard but Holly Burnside has her eyes firmly set on her target.
The Year Six Matamata Primary School student has a dream to be an Olympic gymnast.
For 18 months, she and her mum Janelle Burnside have been travelling to Tauranga three days a week to attend the Argos Gymnastics Club.
While still young, and with plenty to learn, Holly is determined she will see her goal come to reality. And she is already well on her way.
She has earned medals in nearly every competition she has entered in the last year.
At a recent competition at the Mount Tahara Gymnastics Club in Taupo, Holly placed first in floor, second overall and her team placed third.
She competes against other teams from around the North Island.
Holly says she knows the only way she is going to achieve her ultimate goal is to work hard.
She already trains 13 hours per week at Argos.
And as she gets older, she knows this will need to increase.
But for now, she is just having a great time, doing what she loves.
‘‘I just like doing all the skills, I like the people I practise with and it’s just a lot of fun.
‘‘We do vault, beam, bar and floor in competitions and I ambetter at some than others.
‘‘I like floor, that’s my favourite, and I am good at it.’’
Janelle says a few years ago people would have shrugged off a New Zealand gymnast’s dream to compete at an Olympic level.
But last year New Zealand gymnast’s Courtney McGregor, Mikhail Koudinov and Dylan Schmidt competed at the Rio Olympics.
This was New Zealand’s largest Olympic gymnastics team in over 50 years and the first since the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
‘‘Everyone was like wow, New Zealander’s can do it,’’ she said.
For Holly, it will mean joining Auckland or Christchurch Gymnastic’s Clubs in the future.
‘‘But if she wants to do it, we will support her all the way.
‘‘All this dedication to the sport is all her, she wants to do it. ‘‘You see the benefits. ‘‘You see it in in all the girls. They are so much more focused.
‘‘They know if they work hard at a skill they will get it right. They realise they won’t get things handed to them.’’