Tuesday, 21 February 2012

'Ambition > Talent' or 'The true story of the death of my Olympic dream'

Ambition is more important than talent. And I am proof.

I was born in 1985. I started gymnastics at my local PCYC when I was about five. I loved gymnastics. I have always had amazing balance. I walked at nine months old & at the same age, Dad would hold me on his hand in the air & I would balance there. True story. I have photos.

Two years later a gymnastics talent scout approached my parents and asked if I could attend an... I guess you'd call it an audition?... to enter training for the 2000 Olympic team.

Mum and Dad took me to Chandler Sports Complex where I spent the day tumbling, cartwheeling, stretching, swinging and balancing. At the end of the day, the Olympic talent people decided I had the right height, the right body shape, was flexible, had amazing balance & that I could go much, much further. As in 2000 Olympics further.

I had talent.

I never made it to the 2000 Olympics. Not because I wasn't talented enough. No, I never made it because I didn't have the ambition.

Mum, Dad and I talked about it coming home. I was seven and I had "won the audition" so I was happy. We talked about it again during the week. Dad was nervous about how we would manage. As a family, we were already time poor and financially struggling, but he never let that on to me. Ultimately, the decision was mine. I remember thinking about it, little seven year old blonde bundle of cuteness I was. The 1992 Olympics has just been on so I sort of knew what it meant, but I guess I couldn't quite grasp what it entailed for me to be like the girls I'd watched on TV so I finally asked Dad what it was the Olympic people wanted me to do. Dad said, "well, you have to practice a lot to be good enough to be in the Olympics. You have to learn to do all the things they do on TV. You have to to get up really early every day to go to gymnastics training." And I was out.

Seven year old Samantha had talent. But seven year old Samantha did not have ambition. No way was I getting out of bed early. I liked gymnastics, but not that much! Looking back now, I regret what could have been. I would have liked to be 'Samantha Mawdsley, Olympic gold medalist.' I'd even like to be 'Samantha Mawdsley, former Olympic gymnast'. Hell, I'd be happy with 'Samantha Mawdsley, who can do the splits!' But Australia managed to field an Olympic team at the 2000 Sydney games without me. They found girls just as talented as me, probably more so, but who had ambition. They had determination, passion, drive and dreams and they taught them to be amazing gymnasts. But they couldn't teach me ambition. I just happened to be damn good at bouncing on a trampoline...

Still am...
Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • Do you think ambition is more important than talent?
  • Do you regret not trying harder to do something?
  • Has ambition ever failed you or gotten you ahead?


  1. I got accepted into NIDA when I was 9. Dad couldnt afford it though. :-(

  2. That sucks! :( Sometimes life is so unfair... xx

  3. Good to know about yourself.And about life yeah it is so unfair some times specially when ever something happend bad.