10 minutes with: Mary Anne Monckton


We continue our series spending a few minutes with Australia’s National Team member Mary Anne Monckton. The Melbourne gymnast was part of the Australian 2010 World Championships team in Tokyo, who placed 6th and thus secured a team spot at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Her profile on the Gymnastics Australia website says “Mary-Anne has overcome a turbulent past few years with career threatening injuries to become a permanent fixture in the high performance team. Despite the injuries, she continued to develop as a gymnast”. She is the current Australian silver National Champion on Uneven Bars, taking the title for the third time in as many years and also the bronze All Around National Champion for two years running.   Unfortunately Mary Anne missed out on a place on the team for the London 2012 Olympics but was named travelling reserve but none the less takes pride in doing so.

We chatted to Mary Anne recently. She gave us some insight into her training and education and her hopes for the future.

Mary-Anne, when and why did you start gymnastics?

I started gymnastics when my cousin took me into the gym with her one day,  when I was 5. At first I hated it because I couldn’t do everything straight away! I am a bit of a perfectionist like that.

 At the moment, what is your weekly schedule at the moment in terms of training and education?

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 7.00am 10.15am Training, 11.00am -3.00pm School, 3.30pm – 6.40pm Training
  • Wednesday, Friday : 8.30am – 1.00pm School, 1.30pm – 5.00pm Training
  • Saturday:  8.00am – 12.00 noon Training
  • Sunday – Rest

 Who would be your gymnastics idols and why?

When I was little I loved watching  Catalina Ponor compete on beam in the 2004 Olympics, and earlier in this year I competed alongside her in Doha during beam finals…So surreal! She is an amazing beam worker and an inspiration. I also admire gymnasts who have fought through potentially career ending injuries and demonstrate mental toughness, namely, Courtney Kupets, Aliya Mustafina, Rebecca Bross.

 What do you do- mentally and physically- to prepare the day of competition?

On the day of competition I usually have a training session in the morning, which is great to just the body woken up and prepared for normally an afternoon or evening competition. Mentally- I just try to relax, keep everything as normal as possible, and I always go through my routines in my head over and over. I really like to use mental imagery, as it helps keep me focused and on track

What, if anything, does your coach always have to remind you about?

Tracey Penaluna is always telling me to point my feet because the are really stiff…Misha Barabach always reminds me to be confident and believe in myself.

What are your workout tips for those tough days in the gym?

Whether you’re doing conditioning or routines, it has to have a purpose, and if you’re having a rough day, just remember why you are there, think of your goals and push yourself towards them. The hard days only make you a stronger gymnast. If you can work through those days, all other days will be easy!

What would be the highlight of your career so far to date?

Representing Australia at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo. This was a great team of girls and we really had a goal that we wanted to achieve and this was helping qualify a team for the Olympics. Also, being a reserve for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

 What is your favourite part of being a gymnast?

I love being able to do things that not everyone can do. Also the important life lessons it teaches kids from a young age: determination, time management, balance, mental toughness etc. Now that I am older I also appreciate the general fitness and well being that comes with training.

You made the London 2012 Olympic Team as a travelling reserve, overall how was your experience of the Games, despite not competing?

It was an amazing experience being able to travel and train in London with Georgia-Rose and my coach Misha Barabach. We got to visit the Olympic village and watch team Qualifications and Team Finals. Not being a part of the 5 girl Team who competed in London has made me want to get back into the gym and work harder for the next team selection. I want to make sure I am in the top 5 athletes next time!

 Are the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympics in Rio in sight for you?

At the moment I am just have a bit of down time to recover my body, I definitely want to compete at more World Championships and  the 2014 Commonwealth Games is a goal of mine, because I was injured right before the last ones and didn’t get to reach that goal. As for 2016, it’s a goal, but I will just take it one year at a time and see what happens.

 What are your plans for the 2012-2013 competition season?

For the remainder of 2012, I am spending the time consider the new code of points and come up with a plan for my routines, I hope to trial for Worlds and compete bars and beam.

Thank you to Mary Anne for taking some time out to chat to us and also to Coach Tracey Penaluna for her assistance. Wishing Mary Anne the best of luck with her future gymnastics career and we hope to catch up again sometime.

Previously in this series:

10 minutes with: Ye Zhennan

10 minutes with: Sophie McCoo


Image via Getty Images.

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