An interview with Vasiliki Millousi

This is a translation of this interview by Andriani Xiarchou for

Gymnastics is her entire life. She was born to do acrobatics. Vasiliki Millousi, one of the top Greek artistic gymnasts, managed to qualify to the Olympic Games of Sydney in 2000 and 12 years later she managed to live this unique experience once again, during the Games of London 2012. With lots of achievements on the balance beam, she has won 15 medals in world cups (7 of them are gold), she has been first two times in FIG’s 2012 and 2013 world ranking, she has been a European event finalist four times, she has four medals from Mediterranean Games (1 gold) and her next goal is the Olympics of Rio. You have to fight to make your dreams come true and Vasiliki learned to work hard and to be driven by her ambition from a very young age.

At what age did you start gymnastics and what do you remember from your first years in the sport?

I started artistic gymnastics at the age of four and what I remember is that I was counting how many hours were left until I would go back to the gym.

Why did you choose this out of all the sports?

I think gymnastics chose me because when I first went into the gym they chose me to do rhythmic gymnastics because I had lots of flexibility. However, I didn’t want to do that because I liked acrobatics. I wanted to do more and more difficult elements all the time

How much passion does it take to go from being a regular athlete to being an elite athlete?

It takes passion and dedication. Elite sports have nothing to do with regular sports. It takes lots of sacrifices to manage to get to a decent level and that doesn’t mean that you always become a champion. There are many factors contributing to becoming a champion and luck is one of them.

What are the sacrifices you are doing for it?

Your whole life revolves around training and competition. What you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat it, where you’ll go, when you’ll sleep, how you’ll sleep, how your mood will be like are some of the stuff that an athlete needs to pay attention to daily. Then, vacations are very limited and especially for us, who start at a very young age and unfortunately we lose the carelessness of summer because we never really lived it.

Describe us the day of an athlete in your sport

A typical day for me is: I wake up at 7:30, I have a quick breakfast and I go to the gym at 9. I leave at 12 and I go to my room, in the athletes dorm in the sports facilities. I rest, I eat something before my second training session. I start training at 3 and I finish at 6. After that I go home to eat and I sleep early. If I have the energy, I’ll go out with my friends.

Where do you get energy from?

I take energy from a healthy diet, my coaches, my successes and my failures at competitions.

During a hard day, what do you think about in order to get through?

There are lots of hard days, especially when a competition is close but when I enter the gym I forget everything and I only think about my goal.

How hard is training?

Lots of times, training is hard and painful because if you are an elite athlete, it means that you can handle the pain and the nerves and the tiredness.

What of those stuff could a woman take advantage of in order to feel a bit like an athlete?

She could probably exercise a lot every day while eating healthy in order to feel a bit like an athlete

Which is a moment you like to remember and to describe?

The moment I entered the arena at the Olympic Games of London was unique. I had fulfilled what seemed to be an unreachable dream for me, I had managed to compete again to the Olympic Games after 12 years. When I entered the arena I thought “I made it”

What are your next goals?

My next goal for this year is the World Championships of Glasgow in October. It’s the qualifications for the Olympics of Rio. There are two ways to qualify: by winning a medal or by having your team’s highest AA total. I wish I can achieve both, or at least the one of them

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