Millie is second from left in the front row
Anyone who was a gym fan back in early 2012 will probably recognize Millie Williamson, the girl New Zealand has sent to Nanjing, as she was part of the squad they sent to Pac Rims two years ago. Remember the little juniors the NBC trio couldn’t stop fawning over?
Whether it’s because you forgot, or because you weren’t around back then, here’s the interview a then 12-year-old Williamson gave with her kiwi teammates back in 2012 at Pac Rims:
The pocket-sized 14-year old from Christchurch is now getting ready to wow the crowds in China.
She trains 30 hours a week at Christchurch School of Gymnastics alongside many of the girls we recently saw compete at the Commonwealth Games. It’s this core group that hopes to change the sport’s presence in New Zealand as they attempt to qualify for Rio 2016, and Williamson should be a large part of that fight.
Recently, she was featured in a little fluff piece for a kids TV show where she explains how the sport works in very easy terms and also talks a bit about the upcoming trip to China and her gymnastics goals for the future. It’s absolutely adorable.
Williamson most recently competed as a guest at Australian Nationals at the end of May. There, she scored 49.9 to unofficially take bronze in the junior all-around. However, since she was not technically in the competition, she did not place.
The Australian National Championships were also where Williamson earned her spot at the Youth Olympic Games, as it was a qualifying event for Nanjing. She beat Australia’s Darcy Norman for the spot and will be the sole representative from Oceania competing in the Games.
Williamson has recently been dealing with a back injury, which might explain her all-around score at Australian Nationals. Her personal best is a 51.0.
She competes a full-twisting Yurchenko on vault. In Australia, she had a problem on her landing after losing direction a bit.
Her bars aren’t very difficult (they’re at about a 4.4 at the moment) but she does have a rather nice swing and her lines look long and mostly clean.
On beam, she scored a 12.5 after she put her hands down to avoid a fall on her side somi and then came off the beam anyway. Her difficulty is a 5.2 here, so if she stays on, it could be a very good exercise for her in Nanjing. Event finals definitely wouldn’t be out of the question.
Her floor difficulty is 5.1, and like beam, it could be a great exercise. If she’s been working on that 2.5 and can keep it in-bounds, this could be another finals-worthy routine in Nanjing. Williamson says she enjoys floor because she likes to express herself and dance, which is evident especially in her turns here.
So what can we expect from Williamson at the Games in Nanjing? She should definitely be able to make all-around finals if she hits. Whether or not she can make event finals will depend on how her routines hold up against those of her competitors – you never know what qualifications are gonna bring! But she excels on beam and floor, just like her teammate Charlotte Sullivan, who made the beam final at Pac Rims in 2012 and floor finals in this year’s Pac Rims and Commonwealth Games. If she hits, she should have a shot at both.
Article by Fran Elsner