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I’m talking to Maria Anderson a 16-year old champion gymnast. Maria, have you always dreamed of being a gymnast?
It got interesting when I was eight. I loved running, and jumping and my teacher said I would be good at sports. l read a book about a gymnast who took part in the Olympics and her life seemed very hard. Then I went to watch a gymnastics event with my Dad and saw gymnasts in action and I thought, “I like to do that”.
Did you realize immediately you would be a champion?
l tried too hard in the beginning. I’m very competitive and was in a hurry to learn the moves. I made so many mistakes, I nearly gave up. Even when I won prizes at events in my town. I didn’t think I’d ever be really good. But a famous coach saw me doing floor exercise and said he would give me lessons, and then I knew I could get to the top.
You have done amazingly well since then. Has success changed you?
I hope not. I’m growing up, getting experience, but basically I think I’m the same. My coach says the best athletes are sensible they don’t let success make a difference to them as people, and I think that’s true of me. It’s just my mum and dad worry about me and wish I could lead a more normal life.
What about School? Can you keep up with the other children?
I go to the sports centre at 5:30 every morning to practice, so I have been working for three hours before I even get to school. It was hard at first, I felt really tired. But I am used to it now. I rest during the lunch break, instead of being with my friends. Lessons are all right, but I can’t stay up late or go to parties.
Do you have time for hobbies?
Well, I travel a lot to events in other countries and I listen to music on the plane. I hope I get a chance to go to a concert someday and I like movies, but not cartoons. My dad films me when I was performing in a competition, and I put together videos for my website, which is fun.
What does your room at home look like?
I have got posters covering every wall, mostly of singers and bands. The best thing is a photograph of me shaking hands with my hero, a fantastic Russian gymnast I met last year. Oh, and I’ve got all my cups and prizes in a glass case – a bit embarrassing.
Maria decided to take up gymnastics…CorrectIncorrect
When did Maria realise she could be champion gymnast?CorrectIncorrect
Why does Maria think success has not changed her?CorrectIncorrect
What does Maria say about school?CorrectIncorrect
What does Maria do in her free time?CorrectIncorrect
What is Maria’s favourite thing in her room at home?CorrectIncorrect