I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was three. I tried out ballet and high diving, but I liked gymnastics best. I’ve been going to a sports school in Berlin for ten years. All my schoolmates also do competitive sports. In my class everything is geared to us athletes, so the teachers know how much work we can manage. I train for five or six hours a day. Tough going? Yes. But I have a goal.
My dream is to take part in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. I’m doing my A-Levels at the same time. After that I’d like to go to university. It is important to Germany that athletes are also well educated. Sports funding provides us with financial support. At the moment it pays for the straps that protect my hands on the bars and that need to be replaced every few weeks, and the expensive competition leotards. We athletes are used to taking a disciplined approach. In a way we are also educated by sport.
Michelle Timm, 18, gymnast in the national squad