Gymnast Mitchell ready for nationals
Published 23 May 2016 (AEDT)
GYMNASTICS: Lauren Mitchell is not quite back to 100 per cent, but is confident she'll have enough to nab the one Rio Olympic spot on offer at this week's Australian Gymnastics Championships.
Australia's 2010 world champion will compete at a major event for the first time since rupturing her ACL last June, an injury which had seemingly ended her bid for a third straight Games appearance.
Knowing a full knee reconstruction would not have given her enough time to get back, and the revolutionary LARS surgery would have left question marks surrounding the long-term strength in her knee, Mitchell opted for a LARS augmentation - essentially a combination of the two procedures.
It has the 24-year-old fit enough to compete at this week's nationals in Melbourne starting on Wednesday, confident she's got enough work under her belt.
"I've had to change a few things around in my routine because I just couldn't quite get back those skills - mainly taking off and landing on one leg because my right leg's my dominant leg," Mitchell told AAP.
"But because I have such a strong skill repertoire I could just pull out different skills and stick those in instead - it still has the same difficulty value, it's still just as hard as those other skills I was doing."
Mitchell suffered the injury after coming down awkwardly on a blind landing on a tumbling sequence during a floor routine, her feet only slightly apart on landing but enough to see her knee give way.
She won't bring out the same sequence in Melbourne but is hopeful of having it back in her repertoire in Rio - should she get there.
That task has been made harder by the fact Australia failed to secure a start in the women's artistic teams event in Rio, meaning that instead of sending five gymnasts to the Olympics, there is only one spot on offer this week.
Australian gymnastics coach Peggy Liddick said there was still no decision on what sort of gymnast would be sent - whether that be an all-rounder or a specialist on limited apparatus.
Mitchell will compete on both the floor and the beam, and should she be able to produce something close to her best, looms as the one to beat for the berth.
"My routine in competitive with everyone else (in the world), beam especially," Mitchell said.