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Brilliant Bryony Page banishes injury and confidence demons to bounce back onto the Olympic podium

·3-min read
Page, 30, soared to silver in Rio and after thinking her career was over, returned to the podium in Tokyo
Page, 30, soared to silver in Rio and after thinking her career was over, returned to the podium in Tokyo

From James Toney in Tokyo

Bryony Page fought through injury and battled a crisis of confidence to claim her second Olympic medal in Tokyo.

What goes up, must come down, is quite apt for a trampolining and it could certainly explain the last five years for the 30-year gymnast.

Page went from the soaring high of winning silver - Team GB's first ever medal in the sport - in Rio to the crushing low of thinking her career was over just a few months later.

However, after two years out of the sport, following a series of ankle operations that crushed her self-belief, she took bronze in a high-quality final, with China's Zhu Xueying and Liu Lingling taking gold and silver.

If there was an advert for the power of perseverance at these Games, this was it.

"My foot is still not fully healed but I don’t notice it unless I’m stood on a hard surface for a long time, which luckily isn’t a problem with trampoline," said Page, whose podium exploits were broadcast live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - WILD, GOLDEN SCENES AT BMX, DRAMA IN THE POOL AND TRACK ACTION HITS TOKYO - MORNING UPDATE
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - WILD, GOLDEN SCENES AT BMX, DRAMA IN THE POOL AND TRACK ACTION HITS TOKYO - MORNING UPDATE

"The first surgery didn’t solve the injury so I had to go in again and I was out for two years. My second surgery caused of bit of nerve damage and that put some doubt in my mind about whether I could get back on the trampoline.

"I'm just grateful to be back doing what I love, getting back to the standard I was in Rio and then pushing on. I might not have shown my very best but it was the best I could have done.

"I can’t believe I’ve got a second Olympic medal, it's a moment of pure joy really."

Despite boasting all the skills of a circus performer, Page admits to being 'quite introverted', not only struggling with injuries after Rio but also the increased expectation that comes with being an Olympic medallist.

It made the palaeontology graduate question whether to do it again - but her love of the sport took over.

"Getting a second Olympic medal and dealing with the pressures I’ve felt it’s just a different feeling to Rio. It’s like choosing your favourite child but I feel so much pride for this medal," she added.

TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - CAELEB DRESSEL DOMINANT, HELEN GLOVER AND POLLY SWANN MISS OUT, ROWING DRAMA - MORNING UPDATE
TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS - CAELEB DRESSEL DOMINANT, HELEN GLOVER AND POLLY SWANN MISS OUT, ROWING DRAMA - MORNING UPDATE

"I hoped I could do it and I put a bit of pressure on myself about it - perhaps too much.

"What really pleases me is I've upgraded to 15 difficulty routine. That means my Dad will owe me a leotard based on a bet we made when I was 12, every time I got up a tariff point I get a new leotard."

Page once again brought her lucky dinosaur lunchbox to the competition, though its charms didn't rub off on team-mate Laura Gallagher who exited in qualifying after a fall.

There aren't many gymnasts still making podium in their thirties but Page has no intention of quitting, with the World Championships later this year her next target.

"I just love this sport, it feels like you are flying," she said.

"I love bouncing high and being able to spin fast and twist, and when I do the skills how I want them to be it feels amazing, almost like driving your own rollercoaster."

Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, the Streaming Home of the Olympics.

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