Athlete Profile: Olivia Curran
Home town: Ascot, Bracknell Forest, United Kingdom
Occupation: Gymnastics Coach / currently setting up own business in Choreography
Sport: Gymnastics & Athletics (Pole Vault)
Commonwealth Games Achievements:
Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games
Women's Artistic Gymnastics
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Pole Vault - Women
When did you first represent Team Isle of Man at a Commonwealth Games?
My first experience with CGA IOM was just age 13, when I was selected to represent the IOM at the 2004 Youth Commonwealth Games in Bendigo, Australia, for Gymnastics. I then qualified for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, but unfortunately got seriously injured just days before the competition. I then started Pole vaulting in 2012 and competed in the 2014 games in Glasgow.
Why do you compete and represent Team Isle of Man?
I play sport as I am extremely competitive and love to challenge and push myself to achieve something new. I really enjoy being a part of multi-sport competitions like the Commonwealth Games and that really motivates me in a tough day of training. My cousin is now a professional golfer. Growing up hearing about his endeavours definitely spurred me on to work hard.
If you had to describe the Commonwealth Games in three words, what would they be?
On a personal level the Commonwealth games makes me think about adversity, pride and friendship.
My previous games experiences have been very challenging with the injury in Delhi which was devastating and the terrible weather in Glasgow, and each time I’ve learnt and gained valuable experience.
I’ve also formed some great friendships along the way, from the IOM team and also other nations. I think it’s very special to represent a team like the Isle of Man, where as a smaller nation we get to know athletes from other sports, and all the support staff much better. We’ve always supported each other in our different events and I think that stands us apart from other nations.
What has been your favourite sporting moment whilst involved with Team Isle of Man?
Any time the Isle of Man won a medal! The atmosphere amongst the team was always incredible!
Have you got any funny stories to share with us during your time at the Games?
In Delhi we went to the Taj Mahal. I was in a full leg cast and a wheel chair, and I really wanted a handstand photo in front of the Taj. I hopped out of my wheelchair and did a handstand. In minutes I was swarmed by photographers wanting to catch the image. I had to do it several times and then everyone wanted to know my name. It was a very surreal moment.
What has been your ultimate achievement in sport?
Simply reaching a Commonwealth Games final in a second sport after 3 surgeries was a great achievement.
Jumping a personal best and beating the bronze medalist the week before the Games was also pretty good!
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Visualisation has been a huge game changer for me. It really helps me to feel confident and relaxed, which is what makes me jump best.
Now that I have a metal plate in my ankle, I also have to do a lot of mobility and rehabilitation work for my ankle. The doctors said I may not be able to fully impact it again, but it’s doing great!
My motto from being very young has always been “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” I understand now that there is so much more to my sport than just winning the competition, I count winning as all the lessons I learn, the fears I face, and the joy that still being able to compete in the sport I love brings now.
What has been the most significant challenge you have faced in your preparation leading up to a sporting event? How did you overcome this?
Being told I needed one more qualifying score for Delhi, a week before the deadline , on the day I was due to be taking a recovery week holiday to Spain. I had to fly from Gatwick to Malta by myself and compete in a competition with no coach for the first time ever! I fell off the bars, then I fell off beam twice with all the nerves and pressure I’d put on myself. I cried for a few mins and thought about how I had no chance now. Then somehow a switched flicked. I had fire in my belly and I told myself there was no way I was going home without this qualifying score. I did the floor routine and vaults of my life! I scraped the qualifying score. It was such a relief and I was very proud of how I’d managed to turn it around so well. You really can achieve what you want if you set your mind to it!
What would be your advice for a young aspiring athlete aiming to represent CGA IOM?
Where do you see yourself in the future? What aims do you have? Will you stay in sport?
In the future I have great aspirations to represent Great Britain. I believe I will remain heavily involved in sport - and who knows maybe a third sport for a third Commonwealth Games!
I now coach gymnastics and am setting up my own business in Choreography. I have choreographed the floor routine of Ellie Downie - world medalist, and Olympic hopeful! As well as many more GB squad and IOM squad girls. I hope to be able to travel the world doing this!