Gymnast Mackenzie Robinson says countrywoman Danusia Francis her inspiration


Gymnast Mackenzie Robinson says countrywoman Danusia Francis her inspiration

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, May 17, 2020

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Having watched Danusia Francis's crowning Olympic qualifying moment with tremendous amount of pride, Jamaica's Canadian-born gymnast Mackenzie Robinson intends to draw inspiration from the achievement to raise her game even further.

Robinson, who first sported the black, green and gold at the age of 16 and represented Jamaica on the international circuit for the final three years of high school, has always been a great admirer of Francis and her unwavering work ethic and stubborn determination.

The now 18-year-old Robinson, who turns 19 next month, believes it was always a matter of time before the British-born Francis found her breakthrough performance, which came in Germany late last year, following a creditable display at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Francis, a reserve athlete for Great Britain's 2012 Summer Olympics team, joined American-born Toni-Ann Williams, the 2016 Rio Games representative, as the only Jamaicans to qualify for gymnastics at the Olympics.

The 2020 Tokyo Games was postponed until next year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I couldn't be happier for Danusia Francis and her qualification to the Olympic Games. She is a huge role model to me and is so deserving of her spot to compete in Tokyo,” Robinson, whose Jamaican roots lies with her grandparents, told the Jamaica Observer.

“The biggest lesson I took away from her qualification was that hard work really does pay off. On every assignment with Danusia, she always gave 110 per cent and that showed when she qualified. I'm looking forward to watching her at the Olympics,” she added.

Robinson, a freshman at University of Alaska pursuing a psychology degree, is also on the path to success as one of Jamaica's budding gymnasts.

She has so far paraded her skills at the 2017 and 2018 FIG World Championships, 2018 and 2019 Pan American Championships and last year's International Gymnix in Montreal, among others.

The powerfully built athlete earned an international career-high all-around score of 46.950 – including 12.750 on vault and 12.200 on beam – at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) Classic last year.

Like every individual in their respective field of endeavour, Robinson is optimistic of obtaining that one award which is considered the epitome of recognition and success.

Unflinching in her desire, Robinson remains resolute in her press toward the goal to also make it big for the country and use her journey to inspire others.

“Since I'm competing in college right now, I will be creating videos to help inspire the younger generation and represent myself, gymnastics and Jamaica all in one,” she noted.

“So, my goal right now is to finish college gymnastics with a degree and to inspire as many people as possible along the way because I was given so many amazing opportunities that I worked hard for, so I want to show people that they can achieve their goals too,” the cheerful athlete reasoned.

With some tough competition expected over the next three years for both college and country, the motivated and talented Robinson is focusing her attention on conditioning, strength and endurance training after the COVID-induced break.

“My life has always revolved around gymnastics because it is truly my passion, so not being able to work out in the gym has forced me to improvise and since I had such an active lifestyle before, exercising is what I use to pass the time.

“I have been doing a lot of home workouts and running and my family and I normally go on a walk everyday for about one to two hours, which is nice because before all this we never had the chance to,” Robinson shared.

“The next three years of my college gymnastics I am expecting some of the best competitions I have ever competed in because I am determined to do well. So I will continue to work hard and remain focused,” the former track star at Silverthorn Collegiate Institute ended.

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