Our Young Authors Contest winner for this issue is Hope Gavriil, Grade 6 student at Hillcrest Academy. Hope had the opportunity to sit down with Sara Giard, local competitive gymnastics champion, for a one-on-one interview.

Q: What made you want to do this sport more than another?
A: At two years old, my mom took me to the doctor and they told her I was too heavy, that I needed to lose weight. She put me in gymnastics and I’ve LOVED it since then.

Q: How many hours a day/week do you train?
A: I’m usually at the gym four hours a day, five days a week; about 20 hours a week. I’m also here every weekend teaching, so I guess you could say I’m here all week.

Q: How many medals do you have and what championship titles do you hold in Canada and Quebec?
A: Well, I’ve earned a LOT of metals over the years. I’ve lost count. I am currently 4th in Canada and 2nd in Quebec in level JO10.

Q: What has been your favourite moment in your sport so far?
A: It has to be the Canadian Championships in 2014. I didn’t realise how good I was until that point.

Q: How many times have you been injured and what were the injuries?
A: [laughs] Let me see. I broke my thumb in 2014, injured both ankles in 2014, and displaced a vertebra in my back in 2015. They [doctors] said that my back is not in top shape and it probably won’t ever be until I stop.

Q: How do you balance high school, friends, family and silly fun?
A: I don’t have time to go to parties and hang out with my friends on the weekends. I’m usually at the gym perfecting my elements. School is easy, the teachers are usually nice and cooperative with me. I need to make sure I keep my grades high if I want to keep competing.

Q: Do you ever think to yourself, “Is this all worth it in the end?”

A: YES, I think it’s ALL worth it and it’s gonna get me where I want to be.

Q: What is your 5 to 10-year plan that you have for yourself?
A: So, the next 5 to 10-year plan is to go to the Olympics in 2020, in Tokyo. If I can’t get there that will be very sad. Otherwise, I would want to go to a university in the USA and they will pay my schooling on scholarship and I will compete for their school.

Q: Who is your biggest supporter?

A: My mom. She is always there for me and without her I wouldn’t be where I am today. She gets me supporters and fan pages and so much more just to get funding for me to train and compete.

Q: How long do you plan on doing gymnastics for?
A: As long as I can, and until I’m done achieving my goals. I want to keep doing gymnastics until my body doesn’t let me anymore.

Q: Have you ever wanted to give up, and if yes, who pushed you forward?
A: Sometimes it’s been hard. I have said to my mom, “I really can’t do this anymore.” My mom and coaches kept pushing me to not give up. I have come too far for that. But it will always be my choice if and when I stop.

Q: Have you ever had to cancel a competition due to your injuries?

A: Usually when I get hurt, I continue performing, but not to the max.

Q: Chocolate or chips?

A: Definitely chocolate!

Q: Fun rollercoasters or scary rollercoasters?
A: Scary, because I don’t know what will happen.

Q: Last movie you watched?

A: Annabelle 2.

Q: Favourite song to sing out loud no matter where you are?

A: My favorite singer is Justin Bieber and I would sing his songs everywhere.

Q: If your house caught on fire, what three things would you take with you?
A: I would have to say my phone, my parents, and my dog.

Note from Hope: After my interview with Sara Giard, my mom and I realised that we need to help Sara find funding and more sponsors to get her to Tokyo in 2020. The price of her competitions, competition outfits and training is so high, and her parents work very hard to help Sara work toward her dream of the Olympics. Please visit Sara’s Facebook page @fanpagesaragiard and you too can help raise money or make a donation to her training and competition fund.