by Anna Rose Johnson

Although Austria’s Marlies Männersdorfer is only twenty years old, she could already be considered a veteran in our sport. A three-time World Cup competitor, Männersdorfer also competed at her second World Championships in Montreal last month, where she performed a highly expressive floor routine to “Fight Song.” In this interview, she describes her recent training and her goals for the future:

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Inside Gymnastics: Could you tell us about your experience at 2017 Worlds?
Marlies Männersdorfer: The 2017 Worlds were my second World Championships. It was a well-organized competition and a great experience for me, although my appearance didn’t live up to my expectations. My bars routine was not really good and I’m not satisfied with the results of the competition. I think the major reason of my backslide was that I injured my elbow at end of July. I had to take a break for three weeks, so I didn’t get the chance to prepare very well for Worlds and my bars routine wasn’t practiced well enough. I was under pressure because I knew I didn’t practice as much as I would have [otherwise]. In spite of everything, the 2017 Worlds was a great experience. I learned that I had to get stronger in my mind during the competition.

Inside: How is your training going?
Marlies: My training is going very well. Since I came back from Canada, I have been working on my self-confidence and I could train like I did before the injury. I had two competitions left, the county championships of Vorarlberg and the Austrian Championships. I won both [of the all-around titles]. Now I’m working on new elements because I want to upgrade my routines and it is going well.

Inside: What’s your favorite apparatus?
Marlies: My favorite apparatus is the floor because I can include my personality in my routine.

Inside: Are you working on any upgrades for 2018?
Marlies: Yes, as I said before I’m working on new elements on each apparatus. Especially on bars [and] floor.

Inside: What are your long-term gymnastics goals? Are you aiming for Tokyo 2020?
Marlies: My long-term gymnastics goal is to participate in the 2020 Olympics.

Inside: What is it like to compete for Austria?
Marlies: I’m proud to represent my country at several Championships.

Inside: Could you tell us about your very artistic floor routine? Did you have any input on the lovely choreography and music?
Marlies: The choreographer of my floor routine is Julia Nica. I chose the music, “Fight Song,” because it motivates [me]. Fighting is part of my life, because I never give up and I fight to make my dreams come true. Julia gave me the input and she is always there for me to bring my routine to perfection.

Inside: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Marlies: In 2015, my life changed. I moved from the eastern part of Austria to the western part. I did so because of the better training possibilities. In July 2016, I became a member of the Sport Army Austria so I have the chance to focus on gymnastics. I train in the Olympic Center Vorarlberg in Dornbirn, and my coaches are Daniel Rexa and Katka Rexa. I also do specific strength training with the support of the coaches of the Olympic Center.

Photo by Grace Chiu

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