Nina Derwael the day after: "Not my intention to stop”

A day after her historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics, the Belgian gold medal winner Nina Derwael has told journalists that she has no intention of retiring from competitive gymnastics. She added that her winning the gold in Tokyo still has to sink in.  

When asked how it feels to be Olympic Champion Nina Derwael said "It’s an incredible feeling. It’s still unreal. I don’t know. I find it difficult to describe. It still hasn’t dawned on me. It probably won’t until I’m back home and it’s all had time to sink in”. 

Was our country’s new Olympic gold medal winner able to get a good night’s sleep?  

"It was a short night, I found it difficult to fall asleep. I was on my mobile for a long time, but even after that I was unable to fall asleep. My eyes closed from tiredness, but it was difficult to sleep. The gold medal was on the bedside cabinet next to me. When I woke up I looked straight away to check if it was there. Luckily it was”.

Nina Derwael received hundreds of messages of congratulation after her victory. She thanked everyone for their support.

"I also received a call from King Filip while I was in the car on the way to the Olympic village. He said that he was proud of me and of the country. He hopes to be able to congratulate me in person once I’m back in Belgium”. 

"A culmination of 5 year’s work"

But how does Nina Derwael look back at the uneven bars final?

"You forget everything that happened a little bit. It was a long day with a lot of waiting. I am pleased that I was able to keep my cool. This is a culmination of 5 year’s work, since the Rio games. It was a path with many ups and downs, but I always knew what I was doing it for. It finally came to fruition yesterday".

But what are Nina Derwael future plans? 

"I don’t know. Enjoy everything that has nothing to do with gymnastics. I want to take time for my family and friends, because that’s something that I haven’t done for a long time. Because of corona I have kept a lot of distance from everyone just to be sure. A lot of quality time is needed. I need mental and physical rest and we’ll see how long it takes”. 

But what about the World Championships in Antwerp and the next Olympics in three years’ time in Paris? 

“In any case I want to compete in Antwerp because I’ve always said that I want to take part in a World Championships held in my home country. The games are also a year closer. It’s certainly not my intention to stop”, Nina Derwael told journalists.


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