Gymnast Gemma Lightbourne will make the jump to the next level of competition at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland — and she’ll be doing it in front of what she calls a home crowd.
The rhythmic gymnast was born in Bermuda but lived in Scotland from the age of one to 14. She got her start in gymnastics at the age of seven.
“I became an elite athlete over there, training with the Scottish national team when I was nine years old, up until I was 14, when I moved back to Bermuda,” Lightbourne told the Bermuda Sun.
Now the gymnast is back in Scotland for the week leading up to the Games, spending time with family and preparing to represent Bermuda in her biggest competition yet.
“I’ve been given an absolutely amazing opportunity and I’m just so proud and honoured to be representing Bermuda at the Commonwealth Games, which is such a high level of competition.
“It’s going to be very strange going back and seeing everyone, all the people I trained with.
“I’ve got my mother’s side of the family living over there, and old friends from Scotland that are all going to come out and watch and support me. It’s going to be like a home crowd to me.”
Rhythmic gymnastics is a choreographed discipline where the athlete performs a routine using clubs, hoops, balls, ribbon, or rope, and combines elements from both dance and gymnastics.
The 17-year-old will have to deal with a nagging calf injury and a series of past fractures to her feet, but she is ready to push through in her finals bid.
“I had pulled a muscle in my calf and it’s just really tight and sore. I have really bad feet. I’ve fractured my feet about six times, so they are a struggle but I’m working through it. I’m just going to go out there and try to get to the finals, which would be absolutely amazing.”