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The Women's Sports Alliance

PRESENTS...

Bryony Page – spinning to successes after career-threatening injuries and ‘mental blocks’


Image courtesy of Bryony Page and British Gymnastics


Great Britain is currently enjoying a golden-era of female sporting-success with the England Lionesses, Olympic champions Dame Laura Kenny as well as Nicola Adams and multi-Paralympic gold medallists Kadeena Cox, just some of the high-winner to have starred for the nation over the last decade.

A lesser-known name is that of Bryony Page, who has ‘quietly’ gone about achieving ground-breaking, historic British successes in the sport of trampolining.

A “shock” silver at Rio 2016 was followed by a brilliant bronze at Tokyo 2020, with her career also consisting of eight World championship medals.

Her individual title last year saw her become Britain’s first individual champion in the sport since Susan Shotton in 1984.

What makes her achievements all the more remarkable is the fact she has overcome not only a career-threatening ankle injury, but also a debilitating condition, known as Lost Move Syndrome (LSM), which could also have prompted an early retirement.

Last month Bryony added an All-Around Team World title – and two further silver medals – to her impressive collection and the Women’s Sports Alliance (WSA) felt it was about time the nation took note of her stunning medal haul.



Q – Tell us about the journey you have been on the challenges you have overcome?

“The ankle injury had been around for a few years, since 2010. I’d been managing it but knew it needed attention after the Rio Olympics; unfortunately, it didn’t quite go to plan.

“I had the first surgery (on a bone spur) in September (2016) but after further investigation it was discovered I had an extra muscle in the joint which only about 3% of the population have, so that needed a second surgery the following year.

“It kept me out for just short of two years and it was so frustrating, but it was a process and there was a plan with rehabilitation, nutrition and physiotherapy, for my other problem it was much more complicated.”

Q – Yeah, for those who aren’t aware (and there are many of us) how does Lost Move Syndrome (LMS) impact you?

“Essentially, mentally I wasn’t able to take off from my skills anymore, it’s like having a mental block and it lasted for years on and off.

“It’s so demoralising knowing that physically you can do it, but something in your brain is stopping you and you have no control.

“I reached a really low point before Rio and thought, ‘what if I didn't push through this, what if I stopped?’

“I’m stubborn though and I wanted that feeling (of competing) again and you know, not to be disappointed in myself for giving up and not pushing through.”




Q – It sounds similar to what Simone Biles spoke about around the Tokyo Olympics. How important do you feel it is that athletes are able to open up about their struggles so that others realise it’s not just them experiencing challenges?

“It’s becoming a lot more ‘normal’ to be able to talk about any mental issues,” Bryony tells the WSA.

“In trampolining or gymnastics, like what Simone’s mentioned, it’s the ‘twisties’, other people say it’s ‘Lost Move Syndrome’ or a mental blocks, there are lots of different words for similar issues which come about in different ways.

“Sometimes it can be triggered through injury, trauma, or sometimes due to different experiences or lack of confidence.

“I think it's very admirable that Simone could speak so openly about it at the Olympics and I’m very glad that she did because it helps change perceptions and makes it much less of a taboo.

“The more people that experience and overcome those things, then speak about it, it’s going to help the youngsters coming through and put sport in a much better place.”

Q – After all of the time you have dedicated and everything you have overcome in your career, how special did it feel to become World champion?



“To know my name will be on a list of World champions (forever), I think that's something really special.

“It’s been a target of mine for a while to win an individual medal Worlds and obviously, a dream to get the top of that podium and have the title.

“It shows the power of perseverance because it came 10-11 years after my World Championships debut and it’s really special that I've kept going.

“I could have retired after Rio (2016 Olympics) and been happy with my career, but I did feel like there was more I wanted to get out of the sport and achieve.

“It's really nice that after another Olympics, I've managed to make that World Championships podium with a routine I was happy with and become the first (British) female medallist since 2003, as well as the first gold medallist since 1984.

“It felt amazing to be part of Great British history.”

Q – Trampolining was introduced to the Olympics for the first time at Sydney 2000, so it’s had over 20 years to establish itself now. Do you think the sport receives the credit it deserves?


Images courtesy of British Gymnastics


“Gymnastics is such an amazing sport, our discipline is part of that.

“When there's coverage of gymnastics, and when there's success within like, women's artistic, men's or with me, you know, or acro (acrobatic), or any of the different disciplines, it feels special because it’s part of our community.

“It (trampolining) is a minority sport, but I love that about our sport, I love that some people you know and others don't.

“Many, when they think about trampolines their first thought is the garden trampoline or a trampoline park, but I think more and more now it’s starting to be known and recognised as a competitive sport and an Olympic sport.

“I didn't go into the sport for media coverage, I didn't really think of it like that, I just went into sport because I loved the feeling of being on the trampoline.

“Any coverage that we can get to promote trampolining and try it out is a bonus really, and it’s certainly growing and I’m just proud to be part of that gymnastics community.”

Finally, I mean – you’ve won silver and bronze at your two Olympics so far, I assume there’s just one target for Paris 2024…?

“Ha, yeah, I'll try and ‘do a Jonny Brownlee’ and complete the set, that would be lovely.

“A lot can happen between now and the Games with the youngsters getting stronger all of the time but it would be an absolute dream to come true!”





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