by Anna Rose Johnson

Now a decorated veteran of gymnastics at age twenty-three—with an historic Olympic medal to her name—Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland is still performing, persevering, and anticipating the next competitive season.

Giulia’s list of accolades in the sport includes some of highly coveted medals: Championships all-around gold in 2015, vault and floor golds at the 2015 European Games, and bronze medals on vault in the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships.

The 2016 Olympic Games was definitely one of Giulia’s best competitions to date. Finishing 10th in the all-around final and securing the vault bronze were among the major highlights for Giulia—and Swiss gymnastics as a whole. “I still can’t describe how [the vault final] was,” says Giulia, who placed third behind Olympic queen Simone Biles and Russian star Maria Paseka. “It was incredible for me to be on the podium with two amazing gymnasts. The field of gymnasts was [incredible]. So I told myself just to enjoy the competition and give [the] best I can.”

The Olympic floor final was a disappointment for Giulia, who was injured in a fall. “After Rio, I had a lot of appointments with different media, and also with the doctor because of my foot, which I injured in the floor final,” she explains. “I took two months off. [I went to] Australia with a very good friend and [didn’t do any] gymnastics. In January, I underwent surgery on my ankle. Straight after [that], I went back to physio and to the gym to start again. My big goal was Montreal [2017 Worlds].”

Montreal was a memorable competition for Giulia, who reprised her Olympic vault bronze with a third-place finish in the World vault final. “For me [the competition] was really crazy, with some ups and downs,” Giulia says. “But at the end it was just amazing; I didn’t expect this kind of result after one year with no competitions.” The gold medalist in the vault final was Maria Paseka, who defended her World title from 2015. “One of my favorite [memories] is with Maria in Montreal,” adds Giulia. “We supported each other a lot and it was just a nice moment to share with her. [We have] kind of a friendship even if we can’t speak a lot to each other.”

While she’s hinted at the possibility of a major vault upgrade in the past, Giulia opted to compete her steady handspring-rudi and double-twisting yurchenko in Montreal. Upgrades are still on her radar, though. “I’m training some [upgrades], but I can’t tell you when [they] will be ready,” she reveals. “Because of my foot I had to slow down a little on floor and vault [after Montreal], but I think I’m [training in] a good way.”

Looking ahead to 2018, Giulia’s main goals are to get back in “full shape” and compete at the European and World Championships with her Swiss team. Her loftiest goal of all is one that won’t be fulfilled for another 2 ½ years, but this talented and powerful athlete is already excited for the journey. “Of course, my big goal is Tokyo!” says Giulia.

We can’t wait to see her there!

Fun Facts about Giulia

FAVORITE COLOR:
“My favorite color is green, but on the leotards I like blue the most.”

FAVORITE COUNTRY TO VISIT:
Australia

FUN OUTSIDE THE GYM:
“I like to enjoy my free time with my friends, or in winter I like to snowboard.”

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