Publication date : 07/11/2018
Following a two-year break from global competition, Rio Olympic silver medallist Bryony Page (GBR) was understandably struck by a rush of nerves and excitement as she performed her routines in qualification Wednesday at the 2018 Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Saint Petersburg (RUS).
More specifically, Page diagnosed herself with a case of "jelly legs."
"I tried to use them to my advantage," she said, "and use them for power and awareness."
Page missed 2017 and most of 2018 thanks to two surgeries on her left ankle to fix lingering issues that had been plaguing her since before the 2016 Olympic Games. The first operation was to remove scar tissue, bone spurs and calcification, while the second operation removed additional scar tissue and an extra muscle that was causing her pain.
The surgeries left Page, who turns 28 on 10 December, doing mostly rehab for two years. She returned to competition in July, taking second at a World Cup in Arosa (SUI). In September, she won her fourth British senior title and is thrilled to be back at the world championships.
"It feels like home, coming back into competition like this," said Page, who praised the Saint Petersburg architectural landmarks that decorate the giant backdrop at the Saint Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex. "It just feels very special because of the background as well. It makes the whole arena and the experience that much more special."
Page scored 49.075 on her first routine and 53.990 on her second, voluntary routine, to qualify sixth to the 24-gymnast semi-final.
"I was happy with both routines," she said. "I know I can improve on the voluntary routine, and I know I've got a few areas I can improve on. I started really well and I just over-rotated one skill and had to fight at the end but I pushed hard so I'm happy with the adjustments that I made. And the set routine, I've been a little bit shaky when I've been competing and nerves have gotten the better of me. So this time I feel like I controlled it a bit better."
The Cheshire native, who trains at the Sheffield Trampoline Academy, became a national hero after her surprise silver medal in the women's Individual final at the Rio Olympic Games. She put the sport back on the map for Great Britain, which played host to the first trampoline world championships, held in 1964 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
"I remember coming back from the Games," she said, "and a lot of clubs said they had waiting lists and loads of people calling up saying their children wanted to join, and lots of messages on Twitter that their child had watched me and Kat [Driscoll] perform at the Olympics and that made them want to try trampoline. It was a little more in the spotlight than normal."
Page has been working to keep the sport in the spotlight even when not competing. She visits schools and clubs to share her Olympic experience and lessons learned with young British children.
"I think the main [message] is to never give up," she said. "I've had a few setbacks in my career, and I couldn't give up. The fact that I kept going and achieved something that I've always wanted to achieve, it means that if you give up, you don't even have the opportunity to do that. If you know you still enjoy it, just keep going and fight through those hard times."