Danusia Francis is Proud of Her 11 Seconds at the Olympics, Even Though They Did Not Go as Planned.
Danusia Francis’s Olympic moment in the women’s artistic gymnastics preliminary round lasted barely 11 seconds, but the anxiety she felt about it was much greater than she had anticipated.
Due to an ACL injury, she could not complete her uneven bars performance and instead had to settle for a few skills on the low bar before presenting to the judges and heading back home. But it was still the Olympics, so there’s that. Her background in the Olympics.
D. Francis Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Francis told POPSUGAR, “I was almost a little bit ashamed that I was going to just be doing something so simple, but stepping up to the podium and hearing all the other gymnasts applauding for me, that just just put a smile on my face.”
To be clear, despite Francis’s routine being cut short, she still achieved a high execution score, which indicates that the talents she displayed were completed without serious flaws. She laughed about it as we discussed it on our Zoom call.
Perhaps she was last in the Race, but she was first in Something:
“Obviously I noticed a lot of people joking like, ‘Danusia had the highest execution,'” she remarked.
Francis is quite pleased with her perseverance and flexibility in adjusting her training programme when the epidemic threw a wrench into her preparations for the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She became only the second woman to ever represent Jamaica in Olympic gymnastics, and she did it as an individual athlete (Toni-Ann Williams was the first).
For one “chapter” of her life, as Francis puts it,
She competed for Great Britain and was an alternate for the 2012 London Olympics. During her time at UCLA, which she described as “like an actual movie,” she added another chapter to her story, thrilling audiences for four years with stunning floor routines and culminating in 2016 with the title of NCAA beam co-champion.
Francis’s second phase began in 2015, when she began representing Jamaica (her father is Jamaican). She qualified Jamaica for the Olympic trial for Rio, but Williams was ultimately selected to represent the country.
Francis Qualified for the Olympics for the third time in his life.
However, the day before she was to leave for Tokyo, she tweaked her knee. Her knee gave out inside while a double backflip on the floor a few practises before podium training, and it happened again during podium training warmups.
After an MRI confirmed the tear, physicians in Tokyo advised against her performing a full bar routine during qualifications, but they gave their blessing for a modified version.
Francis said, “The reception has been completely, overwhelmingly good.”
“I think that sometimes people get wrapped up in all the medals and who’s coming in the top three at the Olympics,” he added.
People who aren’t familiar with gymnastics may have seen in me an appreciation for the journey and the honour of being able to say, “I’m an Olympian.”
She also thanked the Jamaican crowd for their support and mentioned the rivals in Tokyo who boosted her confidence, including three-time Canadian Olympian Ellie Black, Peruvian Ariana Orrego, and American Simone Biles.
Black congratulated Francis for making it thus far and pushed her to make the most of her time at the Games.
She felt better after Orrego cheered for her during training, and Biles reassured her that she was an Olympian no matter how she performed. Francis took it all in, enraptured by her performance.
Francis Stated, “If we’ve learned anything from Simone,
It’s that the sport is incredibly psychological,” adding that the world of elite gymnastics needs to learn to prioritise athlete safety more (mentally and physically) like she’s seen on the collegiate stage.
Instead of having a coach standing by to catch them if they fall, gymnasts in the NCAA can have an extra mat placed under them for release moves on the bars if they are worried about trying them, Francis said.
She said that, within limits, “everything that is going to boost an athlete’s performance should be allowed.” Gymnasts’ needs should be prioritised.
In the middle of September,
Francis will undergo surgery, after which he will begin the long process of getting better. She hopes to finish her career at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the UK, but that will depend on how quickly her knee heals.
She claims that one of her coaches is obsessed with the next Olympics in Paris, even though it is not her current priority.
Francis remarked, “Never say never; if you had asked my younger self if I would’ve gone to Tokyo, the answer would have been a resounding no.”