Now that the Olympic Games are well and truly over, it’s time to continue our “10 minutes with” series. Previously we chatted to Ye Zhennan, Head of Delegation for the Chinese London 2012 Olympic Squad. This month we sat down with Ireland’s current National All Around Champion Sophie McCoo who is in preparation for this month Northern European’s in Glasgow. Sophie is also the currentNational Champion on Floor.
- Name: Sophie McCoo
- Age: 17
- Country: Ireland
- Club: Abbey Gymnastics Club
- Coach: Alison McMullan
- Major International Competitions: 2011 European Championships, Brussels and 2011 World Championships Tokyo
Sophie, when and why did you start gymnastics?
I started gymnastics when I was five years old because my older sister, Stacey, wanted to join. So I took part in the junior recreation which was before her class.
What is your weekly schedule at the moment in terms of training and education?
I’m currently in sixth year and attend school Monday through Friday and train five days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday). So I use Wednesdays and Sundays to get most of my homework and studying done.
You have achieved great success at the top level of gymnastics in Ireland and Northern Ireland. To what do you attribute your success too?
A very supportive club and family and especially my coach, Alison, she is really encouraging in the gym and helps me to push myself in each training session.
With Kieran Behan qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics, Ireland is now known on the international gymnastics circuit. Do you think that Irish WAG will soon catch up with men’s and become known on the international scene?
I think that women’s gymnastics in Ireland is continuingly improving and the standard has risen a lot in the past couple of years, so I hope that in the near future WAG will catch up to men’s gymnastics and begin to be recognised on the international scene.
What are your plans for the 2012-2013 competition season?
Doing well in Northern Europeans is my closest goal for this season. I’m also excited to compete in the Irish Championships and to see what opportunities may come up for me this year.
Who would be your gymnastics idols and why?
I admire Dominique Moceanu, who competed for USA in the 1996 Olympics. When she competed she was always smiling and really looked like she enjoyed what she was doing.
What do you do- mentally and physically- to prepare the day of competition?
I usually go over my routines in my head a lot and I like to listen to my iPod to calm my nerves. The night before competing I always try and go to bed at a decent time as well.
What, if anything, does your coach always have to remind you about?
My coach often has to remind me to believe in myself, especially before doing certain skills that I find scary or before I compete.
What are your workout tips for those tough days in the gym?
You just have to remember that everyone has bad days in training and you have to try to not get frustrated when skills don’t go right. There is always the next day.
What would be the highlight of your career so far?
I loved competing at European Championships in May. My routines went well and I met all the goals I set for myself for that competition. Another highlight would have to be competing at World Championships in Tokyo in October of 2011.
What is your favourite part of being a gymnast?
Even though it’s really nerve wracking, I love competing and having a good competition. Another real perk of being a gymnast is getting to travel and meet gymnasts from a lot of different countries.
Thanks Sophie and best of luck for the 2012 – 2013 competition season.