Our guest on today’s episode has had an illustrious career in gymnastics, starting at a young age when most Olympics hopefuls spend uncountable hours in the gym perfecting routines to now coaching young athletes in the sport - coming full circle in her sport.
Sarah Mercer, who is from South Africa, represented Great Britain in the 1992 Olympics that took place in Barcelona. That was the ultimate goal for which, in her own words, she “put horse blinkers on” to achieve it. No injury, no amount of overtraining and not even the bureaucratic process could stop her from her road to the Olympics.
In fact, she’s down in the history books for a routine that is named after her - “The Mercer”
But moving past her adulation and achievements in gymnastics is the trials of an athlete, and of other professional and elite athletes in gymnastics today, that is increasingly making the news in this sport. The extreme body image pressures, the physical toll and mental stress. Is it worth it to be that consumed? For Sarah, it definitely gave her everything she had hoped for in the sport, but also pushed her into acknowledging the toxic environment that she was a part of and motivated her to advocate for ways to change it.
Today, Sarah works with young gymnasts to make sure that they take all the positives from the sport and train in a safe and nurturing environment. She is also coaching the team of young gymnasts who are representing the UAE at the Special Olympics in Berlin this June.
In this discussion, Sarah talks about her challenges and opportunities in her career as an Olympic gymnast, and also about how to create a cultural shift in gymnastics and keep young people happier and healthier in the sport.
Sarah is a coach at Simply Gymnastics. For more information, visit www.simplygymnastics.com
Today’s episode was supported by the awesome and adventurous team at Deep Dive Dubai, the world’s deepest pool. Check them out for some truly awe-inspiring scuba and freedive experiences. Visit www.deepdivedubai.com
Our wider support team for this episode includes Editor JJ Thompson and our Artwork is by the talented Alexandra Hickey of Studio Theodore.
For more info, visit www.themettleset.com , and follow us on @themettleset
Sarah’s approach to sports and its purpose is something that we hope inspires others coaches too! Enjoy!
Dawn & Afshan