WEEK #5: Isobel N.


Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


My name is Isobel, I’m finishing middle school soon and I’m from British Columbia. I’ve always been active and athletic, and involved in lots of different sports and activities: soccer, cross-country, basketball, swimming, skating and ballet.  Now I focus a lot of my time and energy towards competitive gymnastics. Since I can remember, I’ve been doing handstands and cartwheels and flipping upside down. It’s always been a part of my life. Last year I became the all-around Junior Olympic Level 6 Provincial Champion. I was pretty shocked when I got called up to the podium, as I was going through a painful injury at the time. Just days before I was set to compete, I got injured. I was in a lot of pain and it was hard to get through all my routines. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to compete! But through perseverance and dedication I pushed through the thorns and made it out alive and happy.

This year I compete as a Junior Olympic level 7, and I have a good feeling about this year.  I was in a rough spot mentally last year, so much so that I was almost ready to quit. I had so many mental blocks and trouble with skills that I didn’t want to do anymore because in my mind they were some of the scariest things in the world. This year I’m looking for a positive view on hard skills and overcoming mental blocks, and making this year a happy and cheerful time.


What or who inspired you to participate in sport?


I think that I was inspired by the Olympic gymnasts that I always used to see on TV! 5 year old me thought that they were so cool and I told myself that one day that might be you. Other people who have inspired me are my coaches for always supporting me and believing in me at practices and meets, and helping me through my mental blocks and learning new skills. Mental blocks were tough last year.

What is your routine to prepare for a competition? How do you get mentally and physically prepared?


I have a couple things I do to get mentally prepared for a meet.


If I smile or laugh right before I compete my beam routine, it reminds me to relax and just flow right through the routine without tightening up and stopping. It just reminds me to have fun!


If I’m scared to do something at a meet I tell myself to trust myself because I know I can do it, I just need to chuck it sometimes and trust that I know how to do it.


If I eat a Mars Bar right before my events it’ll boost my confidence because I get a little bit of an adrenaline rush, if I’m feeling a little down.


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?


I think that coaches, parents and sports administrators should be encouraging girls to join a sports club or team, whether they’re big, small, strong, weak. All girls should have the opportunity to be able to be in sports. Period.


What is a song that motivates you?

Skyscraper – Demi Lovato


Instagram: @Isobel.neilson