Mitchell announces retirement from Gymnastics
28 September 2016
GYMNASTICS: Australia’s most decorated gymnast, Lauren Mitchell, has this morning announced her retirement from gymnastics.
The 2010 World Champion made the announcement this morning at a media conference at the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS).
“This is definitely a decision I have not made lightly and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve made this decision because I know it is the right time for the next chapter in my life. I’ve given absolutely everything I have to gymnastics – I left it all out there on the floor and I have no regrets.
“I’d like to thank my family for all of their unwavering support over the years, as well as my teammates, my coaches and the staff at WAIS, Gymnastics Australia, Gymnastics Western Australia, and the wider gymnastics community,” she continued.
Mitchell started gymnastics at just six years of age, thinking that gymnastics looked like a bit of fun after attending a Gymbus birthday party. Ten years later the WAIS-trained athlete burst onto the international scene, making the beam final on her World Championships debut in Stuttgart in 2007 – placing fifth on the apparatus in her first year competing at the Senior International level.
In 2008 she Mitchell’s career continued to blossom, as she became the first Australian to win a World Cup final, once again exceling on the beam at the World Cup event in Madrid. Later that year the now two-time Olympian made her first Australian Olympic Team, competing at the 2018 Beijing Olympic Games as a member of the highest-placing Australian gymnastics team at any Olympic Games, where they finished 6th in the Team Final.
At the 2009 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in London, Mitchell became the first Australian gymnast to win two medals at a World Championships; dual silvers in the Beam and Floor Finals. She also made the All-Around Final, placing fourth.
In 2010 Mitchell became the first Australian to win three gold medals in a single World Cup event, once again tasting success in Stuttgart taking out the Uneven Bars, Beam and Floor events at the DTB Pokal World Cup. Not only did this make Mitchell the winner of the most World Cup medals by any Australian gymnast across any discipline (a total of eight gold, four silver and two bronze by the end of her career), but it was also just the beginning of what was arguably Mitchell’s most successful year in gymnastics.
In October she travelled to India for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, where she won a record four gold and one silver medal. Being a member of the gold medal-winning team, as well as taking home the All-Around, Uneven Bars and Beam Commonwealth Titles sent Mitchell straight into the history books, as the winner of the most Women’s Artistic Gymnastics gold medals won at a single Commonwealth Games by an athlete from any country.
Just a month later Mitchell achieved her most notable accolade, winning the Floor final at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam, and in the process becoming Australia’s first female gymnast to win a gold medal at World Championship level.
In 2011 Mitchell competed in what would be her final World Championships in Tokyo, Japan (she made the team that travelled to the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, but unfortunately had to withdraw from competition due to injury). Once again she made the final on Floor, placing fifth - her sixth apparatus final at a World Championships. She also made the All-Around Final finishing eighth, making it the third time that Mitchell had finish in the top eight All-Around at a World Championships.
In 2012, aged just 21, Mitchell took to the London Olympic Arena as a member of her second Australian Olympic Team. She was a member of the team that placed 10th in the Team Final, whilst she also made the Floor Final where she finished fifth – 0.067 off a bronze medal - the highest individual place ever achieved by an Australian Artistic Gymnast at an Olympic Games.
In 2014 Mitchell returned to the United Kingdom to add another two Commonwealth medals to her swag of five from Delhi, being a member of the Australian silver medal-winning team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as taking home the silver medal in Floor.
After rupturing her ACL late in 2015, resulting in her missing the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Mitchell made an incredible return to the competition arena at the 2016 Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne, where she was crowned Australian Champion on Beam, and took home the bronze medal on Floor – in her own words an incredible achievement and ‘something I’m so proud of seeing less than 12 months ago I couldn’t even walk.’
Her final international competition was at the Anadia World Challenge Cup in Portugal in July, where she qualified third for the Beam final, from which she unfortunately had to withdraw due to injury.
“Not only has Lauren been one of the most talented athletes to come out of Western Australia, but her role as an ambassador within our sport has been invaluable," said Executive Director of Gymnastics WA, Ruth Gibbons.
"She has not only helped to grown the profile of gymnastics significantly, but she has shown that this can be done with humility, and whilst never underestimating the value of your teammates.”
“She really is the ultimate ambassador for our sport,” added Gymnastics Australia CEO, Mark Rendell. “Not only is she the most decorated and successful Australian gymnast we’ve ever had, but she is also the ultimate team member and role model for young gymnasts across the country. She really will be greatly missed by her teammates and training partners, as well as the gymnastics community in general.
“We wish Lauren all the best in this new stage of her life, and hope to still see her involved in gymnastics in some way in the future.”