Gymnasts to raise the bar

12 July 2013

GYMNASTICS: Gymnastics star Lauren Mitchell says the national women's team need to raise the stakes as they build towards the Rio Olympics.

Mitchell fronted the much-touted Australian women's team in London last year when hopes of landing the country's elusive first Olympic gymnastics medal were dashed and they even failed to make the finals.

Despite nursing a shoulder injury, Mitchell pulled off the nation's best Olympic result - a fifth on the floor in the individual competition when just 0.066 points shy of a bronze medal.

Now the nation's first female world gymnastics champion says Australia need to up the ante by introducing more difficult routines.

"We need to definitely get our difficulty up, like all our start values," Mitchell said ahead of this weekend's national championships in Sydney.

"That's basically what year is all about - just learning new skills and putting them inside routines."

Mitchell arrived in Sydney on Thursday ahead of the national championships, where the long road to the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympics begins.

The 21-year-old West Australian won't be competing as she's recuperating from shoulder surgery in the aftermath of the London Games but she will serve as a mentor to the competition's young up-and-comers.

So what advice has the level-headed Perth native passed on to her students?

"I have this thing that I do all the time when I get nervous that I've passed onto the girls," Mitchell told AAP.

"I feel my feet underneath me and kind of stay in that moment."

She said the lengthy break from training and competition had given her fresh perspective.

Tempting as the lure of Rio gold may be, Mitchell is keeping those feet planted firmly on the ground.

"I've got to get my shoulder better first."

Alexandra Patrikios

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