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ARETALK, Issue 1 - Izzy Hilliard

This is the start of a series of interviews with some awesome goddess-like gymnasts. We really hope you enjoy reading the articles and getting to know some of your favourites in UK gymnastics, and that they inspire you to work hard and try to reach your own potential! 

Issue 1, March 2018  

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From a gymnast’s eye

Meet England Squad gymnast Izzy Hilliard...

Izzy Hilliard is an elegant gymnast and a key member of the English Gymnastics Squad. A confident all-rounder, she was selected to represent England for the Leverkusen Cup in 2016. Izzy has been selected for the England Squad again this year, after being a part of it multiple times before.

Life as a gymnast 

Q: What is your favourite apparatus and why? 

A: My favourite apparatus is bars. Even though it can be scary, I just love the feeling of swinging. I also love tumble as I love twisting!

Q: What have you struggled with the most in gymnastics and what have you found easy?

A: I think as a senior, every step you make is a big one. When I was younger my coaches put a lot of time and effort into all my shapes and lines, so in that respect I’m pretty set. Over the years, I’ve struggled to upgrade the difficulty in my routines due to various mental blocks and other issues but recently I have started to over come some of these blocks and I couldn't be happier.

Q: What is preparation for competitions like?

 A: I tend to keep my comp preparation mostly the same. Before the comp, I always eat as I can’t compete without food. I listen to a lot of music as well as the headphones tend to block out the outside world and allow me to concentrate.

Q: Do you have any strange pre-competition rituals? 

A: I’m VERY superstitious so there’s quite a few! I always use the same colour hairbands in the same order and at every single comp and without fail I wear my lucky white scrunchie!

Q: Do you have any goals? What are they? 

A: I set goals in my head all the time. Some of them are short term goals like “I want catch five Tkatchevs today” and some are more long term such as what skills and upgrades I would like to work in future.

Q: What advice would you give to young aspiring gymnasts? 

A: I would say always listen to your coaches and trust what they’re telling you. Also remember that skills sometimes take a really long time to click inside your head and that’s okay! Just be patient and allow yourself to make mistakes.

Q: Do you have any top tips for gymnasts? 

A: My top tip would probably be to believe in yourself. You’re at the gym for your own reason and you need to be doing it for yourself, not for anyone else. Also make sure you’re organised with your equipment and come to every session prepared! 

Get to know the gymnast 

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not doing gym?

 A: When I’m not in the gym I love meeting up with my friends and overall just having fun! I also love watching movies with my family.

Q: What is your favourite movie?

 A: My favourite movie would have to be ‘The Parent Trap’. I love all the classic Disney movies as well and I also love ‘The Notebook’.

Q: What is your favourite food?

 A: I LOVE profiteroles but I don’t eat them often. I’m always eating fruit and will literally eat anything! I just love food in general!  

This or that? 

Q: Books or Films? 

A: I love watching movies but I also love reading. I’m a firm believer in reading the book before watching the movie—especially Harry Potter!

Q: Cats or Dogs?

 A: I’m actually allergic to cats but I love them as animals! I’ve always wanted a dog and I love them—especially when they have a playful personality.

Q: Sun or Snow

 A: I used to love the snow but recently I’ve fallen in love with the sun. When you spend all your time in the chalky gym it’s amazing to get out in the sun!

Q: Morning or Night time

 A: I’m rubbish at getting up in the morning because I love my sleep so it’s going to have to be night time. I love it when you can watch the sunrise in the morning though.


                     Izzy competing for England at the 2016 Leverkusen Cup 


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