Swiss Cup 2019: Giulia Steingruber interview

Swiss gymnast Giulia Steingruber finished in third place at the Swiss Cup yesterday afternoon, along with her teammate Oliver Hegi. Following a serious injury to her left knee in July 2018, which required surgery to repair the ACL and meniscus, Giulia made her comeback at Swiss nationals this September and has been going from strength to strength ever since. We caught up with her after the competition and asked how it felt to be back at the Swiss Cup and how the support of the home crowd motivated her.

 

It was amazing for me. I love to compete here in Zurich, at home. The spectators are very, very nice to us and the atmosphere is very good and I enjoy it a lot, so I’m always very proud to be here.

 

Giulia qualified an Olympic spot for herself at the World Championships in Stuttgart this month, showing impressive difficulty and execution, making the all around final, and narrowly missing out on two event finals. With less than a year to go until Tokyo, she has been thinking about upgrading on all her events to improve her all around score and definitely wants to increase her difficulty on vault and floor, but says it’s too early to be specific about any particular elements.

Well, I have some ideas, but we will see (laughs). I don’t want to say too much, but I will try to upgrade my vaults. I’ll try to upgrade on floor as well. I want to change my whole bar routine because…I don’t know…I have a lot of problems on bars, and I need to have a very good and clean routine for the all around and on beam, maybe [I’ll add] one or two elements. We’ll see. But my main goal is to upgrade on vault and floor.

The Swiss Cup was Giulia’s last meet of 2019, following a tough year of rehab and an intense competition schedule over the last few months. She plans to take a week or so to rest and relax and then get right back into training and preparations for 2020. Although she has been working on completing her Matura (Swiss examinations), she explained that she’ll be postponing her studies for the time being so that she can devote more time to gymnastics.

I want to stop school now until Tokyo, just to be really focused on my training. I’ll try out new elements until, I think, February, more or less, and in April, we have the European Championships in Paris, so yeah, I will work towards this. Then after Paris, we just have a few months left until Tokyo!

With more and more gymnasts competing well into their mid to late twenties and beyond, we asked about her future plans and whether she was considering continuing her career after Tokyo, particularly given that the 2021 European Championships will be held in her home country. While nothing is certain, sticking around after the Olympics is definitely something she’s been thinking about!

[After Tokyo], I think I’ll need a little break, but not too long, because we have the European Championships in Basel in 2021, so I have this in my head, but I’ll take it step by step. I want to see how my body is, how my mental health is, so… we’ll see!

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