Anna Harrington / AAP News
The now seven-time Commonwealth Games medallist is leading the charge to continue the improvements in the sport she loves.
Australia’s shining light in artistic gymnastics, Georgia Godwin hopes her golden form at the Commonwealth Games can help put the scandal-hit sport in a better light and drive it forward.
Godwin has claimed four medals, two gold and two silver, in 48 hours in Birmingham and has almost single-handedly put the gymnastics team into the spotlight.
On Monday, Godwin claimed gold in the vault ahead of Canada’s Laurie Denommee on a tiebreak, then silver behind England star Georgia-Mae Fenton in the uneven bars.
Australia’s captain earlier broke through for all-around gold on Sunday and claimed team silver on Saturday.
Godwin’s success is a welcome boost for Australian gymnastics.
The sport was left reeling in May 2021 by an independent review conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission which found the sport’s culture and ‘winning-at-all-costs’ focus enabled physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Godwin said she had deliberately blocked out the conversation, as it didn’t help her mental health when she was attempting to focus on major competitions
But the 24-year-old said she tried to play the “mother figure” in a young team attempting to put gymnastics in “the best light we can”.
“I do my best to try and show that gymnastics is a safe sport and that everyone should feel safe doing gymnastics,” she said.
“And we’re heading in the right direction, so that is really exciting to see.”
A three-time medallist on the Gold Coast, Godwin has now drawn level with Lauren Mitchell on seven Games medals, albeit with two less golds, and can claim another in Tuesday’s beam.
“I just come to these competitions and I just have fun and I do my best and the medals are a huge bonus,” she said.
“I’ve learned that putting that expectation on me doesn’t help.”
On Monday, Godwin landed a 13.700 in her first vault and 12.766 on her second.
It drew her level with Canada’s Laur ie Denommee on 13.233 (13.566 and 12.900) but Godwin won on tiebreak rules with the highest-scoring individual vault.
“I just went out there and put 110 per cent of what I had left into that first vault and it just happened to be enough,” she said.
In the uneven bars, Godwin landed a 13.500 to temporarily lead but was overtaken by Fenton, who produced 13.900 to defend her title.
On her 22nd birthday, fellow Australian Kate McDonald finished seventh in uneven bars on 12.533.
Godwin’s teammate Emily Whitehead finished eighth in vault on 11.899.
McDonald (beam), Whitehead (floor) and Romi Brown (floor) are also in finals on Tuesday.
Meanwhile teenager Jesse Moore was left to rue a fall late in his pommel horse routine that all but cost him a silver medal, finishing fifth.
A “pretty devastated” Moore said he “just ran out of gas at the end”.
Clay Mason Stephens finished seventh in the floor final.
Moore, 19, withdrew from the rings event due to the shoulder injury he aggravated in Sunday’s all-around final, but is aiming to compete in Tuesday’s high bar final.
James Bacueti (vault), Mitchell Morgans (high bar and parallel bars) and Tyson Bull (parallel bars) are also competing.