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GYMPRO ATHLETE JAYDON PADDOCK - THE STORY IN HIS OWN WORDS

GYMPRO ATHLETE JAYDON PADDOCK - THE STORY IN HIS OWN WORDS

We asked young GymPro Athlete Jaydon Paddock to give us a real insight into what it has taken him to become the champion he is today.

We all think we know and have an idea what it takes, but this is Jaydon’s story in his own words. We hope that this can give you the strength you need to keep pursuing your dreams however big or small...

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...

“My Mom tells the story of me forever climbing & hanging on everything I could & everything I shouldn’t! So at the age of 2 & 1/2 years old my journey as an Artistic Gymnast began. At the age of 5, I was selected into my first development squad & began to regularly train 15-19 hrs per week. School, travelling & training became my life. But at the age of 7, after moving to a new club, my little gymnastics world crumbled when I was released from the artistic squad being told that my strength development was slower than other gymnasts my age & that I ‘would never become the gymnast that the coach & my parents wanted me to be’…we will come back to this point later on! My parents obviously didn’t share the truth with me as they knew the upset it had already caused me. After much discussion, it was advised to move across to Tumbling where I met my existing coach – Chris Porter. From that point, I have never looked back. I maintained a 15 hours per week training schedule around school with not much other time to do anything else however, I loved gymnastics so at that age, it was no sacrifice.“

 

 

EARLY COMPETITIONS...

“I developed a real love for Tumbling & my coach really invested in me by ensuring I was constantly working on getting the basics right. I had great success in many competitions from the start but my first hurdle came when I had qualified to compete in my first British Championships at 9 years old. It was the biggest competition I had competed in so far & was at the NIA, Birmingham. I was so excited!! The preliminary stages of the competition went great but I allowed the nerves get to me on finals day & I didn’t even make it to the end of the track after pulling out of one of my runs mid-way through & landing on my neck! This was to be my first lesson in ‘failure’. I soon learnt very quickly how to pick myself up, dust myself off & there is no such thing as ‘failure’.”

 

 

EARLY YEARS IN TEAM GB...

“I was 10 years old, when I was first selected into the GB squad. I was so proud & went on to compete & medal in my first international competition in Portugal at the age of 11. It was at this early stage that I set my goals on becoming a European Champion & World Champion at Junior level & at Senior level with British Champion titles along the way. I used to watch the older GB gymnasts with such admiration & they were who I aspired to be. Between the ages of 11-16, I maintained my high level of success on both the national & international circuit winning gold medals in World Cups as well as 2 British titles.”

 

 

ITS ALL ABOUT THE BALANCE...

“This period of time was tough & not only did I have to contend with the changes in my body consequently adapting training & at times having to deal with the frustration of stripping it back to basics, but also missing out on the social times that 'normal' teenagers experience. Alongside this I had the added pressure of my GCSE studies whilst still training 15 - 19 hours per week (mainly evenings). As I am sure you can imagine, this gave me limited time to do anything else. There were times when the psychological battle got so hard that I wanted to walk away & just be a 'normal teenager'. Go out with friends & be able to go away as a family when we wanted. My family had already sacrificed so much including financially! However, every time I experienced these lows, I had to remind myself everything this sport had given me & taught me so far; to be disciplined & to never give up. I had to remind myself what my goals were in the first place as they are what inspire me & keep me driving forward. At 14, I went on to win my first Junior European Team gold & make history by being the first Junior Mens GB team to win the title. This was an epic moment! However, the crash then came!

Fortunately, 2017 was a quiet year for competition which meant that I could really focus on getting back to who I was as a gymnast & as a competitor & alongside this, complete my GCSE's. Getting the balance right between training & the pressures from school is tough but I just needed to get my head down & focus. I managed to pass all my GCSE’s with good grades so that was one pressure gone however, I then had to focus on the up & coming Worlds Championships. I had been working so hard & on paper, this title was mine to lose. Pre-training out in Bulgaria was going well but then I dislocated my shoulder at the end of a training run. The pain was unreal but the physio was on hand to look after me & this wasn’t going to stop me achieving one of my goals. With my family & teammates in the crowd, I stepped up to compete my first run in the preliminary rounds. It started well with a nice clean transition (double straight somersault in the middle of the routine), however, I had travelled too far in this move which meant that as I continued, I was fast running out of track to fit the rest of my moves in. As I took off for my end skill, I realised that I was taking off on the landing mat but due to the speed I was going it was too late to change the move. As a result, I think it would be safe to say that I face planted the mat…with a big crash!! I was upset, annoyed & angry all at once & a little bit embarrassed as I pulled myself off the mat! My coach tried to say all the right things to bring my head back into the competition as I still had another run to compete but at that moment, it was hard! I took a few minutes to sit & try to refocus & made my mind up to go out & compete the next run, which I did. My second run went near to perfect & I scored the highest in the competition but it wasn’t enough. For the first time ever, I didn't make finals. This moment was devastating for me & then to sit in the audience watching & supporting my teammates who had made finals, was heartbreaking. I was happy for them but upset about my loss.

At this point, my coach, my parents & Nanna & Grandad were my strength. They have been my biggest supporters since I started & they weren't ever going to give up on me so why should I give up on myself! I couldn't!! I still had so much that I wanted to achieve in this sport & still had so much personal growth that I needed to do. So with my goals at the forefront of my mind, I went back to the drawing board with my coach!! More lessons learned; to dig deep when it gets tough & to trust your body & those around you to support you! 2018 was going to be my year & my Mom's favourite saying is 'If you want it, make it happen!' So that is exactly what I had to do! A-Level studies started, training plans adapted & new runs sorted, I set about the task in hand.

April 2018, I went to compete in European Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. The first day of competition went really well with us winning Team Gold again & I had also qualified for individual finals. Stepping up to the top of the track to complete my first run was exciting. The competition was tough but mentally & physically, I was in the best place I had been for a while. I was as focussed as I have ever been & knew that if I completed my runs, as I had practised in training, it was my title to win. My first run was the cleanest I have ever done & although my coaches knew what I had scored, I don’t like to look at the scoreboard so was clueless. As my first run had gone so well, I was filled with confidence as I stood looking down the track ready to compete for my second. It started off well but I didn’t come out of my transition as smooth as I expected. My leading whips fluctuated in height which meant I was losing power towards my final move. As I took off into my triple back somersault, I had to ‘pull & pray’ I land on my feet! Surprisingly, I was able to land with control & cleanly, with only a one-step landing. Coaches on the floor congratulated me & as I walked over to the seating area to await my score I was filled with nerves. My score came up & I couldn’t see it clearly, but it was only when a fellow competitor pointed out my ranking, it hit me – I had done it! I had become the Junior European Champion! First goal achieved!

September I stepped up to compete in my first Senior British Championship alongside gymnasts that have been & still are my role models. Sharing the competition floor with them was something special & was rounded off by winning my first medal in a Senior Championships - Bronze. It was also the first time that the BBC had televised the finals making it even more special!

Then came Junior World Championships. The training was going brilliant & with a successful preliminary round, I was going into finals in 1st place. This meant that I would compete last in the finals which is how I prefer it. This was probably the hardest competition I have ever competed in with all 8 finalists being such high quality & all with the same goal as me - to become World Champion. My preparation had been fantastic. So with my coach by my side, I went out & 'made it happen’! I had finally done it – I had become a World Champion!!! It was a dream come true & made even more special that I was able to share the moment with my personal coach. It had been OUR goal! I stepped off the track thinking that that run was not as good as it could have been but looking back on the videos it was near to perfect. It made the previous worlds & all the sacrifice that we had made worth it, just for that moment on the podium. It was an extremely difficult final but with the support from my coaches, teammates & family, we were finally able to achieve what we’d dreamed of since I first started on the international circuit in 2012.”

DOORS SHUTTING...

“Competing in the gymnastics discipline of tumbling is financially very tough. There is no funding for anything that you do including competing on the International circuit. This financial burden has always fallen on my parents who always do everything they can to ensure I am able to compete at the highest level possible without hesitation. I have proven that I have the physical & mental drive to do it but the financial burden still hangs over us. Last year my parents paid approximately £13,000 to enable me to train, compete nationally & internationally & keep me in the best physical condition possible with physio expenses & sports therapists. We have tried to find funding & sponsorship elsewhere, however as tumbling is not an Olympic discipline as yet, funding streams are very limited & sponsorship pretty non-existent as people do not seem to want to know. We don’t get the individual financial support, sponsorship deals or medical support that Artistic Gymnastics & Trampolining do. All that being said I am forever grateful to those few people who have seen the value in what I do that have invested in me; Gympro Apparel, Sports Tape, PT-Protein, Sandwell Council & my school.

I am very proud of what I have achieved with my coach & family by my side & will always be forever grateful for what they have done & do for me. It simply would not have been possible. My coach (Chris Porter) believed & invested in my from the very beginning after the first door shut & coached me to achieve our successes together. Finances allowing, my goals are now to repeat my successes on the Senior international circuit & to continue to be a role model to the younger gymnasts coming through the systems. It is also my goal, with the help of others, to raise the profile of Tumbling, so that others may not have the financial challenges that we have. I have seen too many talented tumblers step away from the sport as they are unable to finance it.”

WHAT A JOURNEY...

“It has been & still is hard for me trying to find the balance between being an elite gymnast & achieve my academic studies, one of which I still struggle with coming into my final month of A-Level studies. However, it is an incredible journey with many highs & many lows but the journey has taught me so many life lessons & has moulded me into the young man I am today. One of the main lessons I have learnt is; do not let anyone dictate the person you can become, your success is in your hands. I am looking forward to what the future has in store for me but in the meantime, I am just going to continue to ‘MAKE IT HAPPEN’!”

 

 We hope you've enjoyed reading Jaydon's story and we at GymPro Apparel will continue to support young athlete's in their quest for greatness.

Investing in the athletes of tomorrow, today!

CHECK OUT JAYDON ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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