Alexandra Eade has already had to face the highs and lows of being a professional athlete, and she’s only 21 years old. The floor gymnast is one of Australia’s most promising young athletes after a highly successful 2018. Alexandra won bronze for the Australian team and an individual gold at the Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, and also took home a gold medal at the World Cup in Melbourne.
'My career highlight was definitely the Commonwealth Games. I was so happy to be on the team, let alone walk away with a gold medal!
'After my history with gymnastics and not being so successful with making teams in the past, getting that gold made it feel like all of those hardships were worth it, which was the most rewarding thing for me. To share it with my family made it 10 times more special.'
Alexandra has had to work harder than usual to realise her success. At the age of 14, she almost had to give away her dream of competing in gymnastics due to possible lifelong medical difficulties, and was forced to have her arms broken.
'It’s really difficult going through a serious injury at any age! I'm sure so many athletes can agree with me when I say it’s really tough. I'm the sort of person that hates sitting on the sidelines, so watching all of my teammates train while I was still recovering was hard. I almost gave up gymnastics at one point because of it.
'My mum told me at the time to not quit when you're down... I tried to get back to full training [to] then decide if I was done, and by the time I was training again, there was no way I was going to give it up!'
Nowadays, Alexandra is undertaking a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University, Burwood Campus. She is also a member of the Elite Athlete Program offered to professional athletes studying at Deakin.
'I do really love studying at Deakin, I love the culture and how welcoming everyone has been. I am studying biomedical science which is a pretty difficult degree, so if I ever feel like I'm really struggling, or away for any important dates, I know that my lecturers will be more than willing to help and will get back to me really quickly – which I appreciate due to my busy schedule!'
When it comes to university and competing professionally, Alexandra acknowledges the stresses that can come with it.
'Juggling everything is pretty hard, I'm still learning how to do this! I make sure I utilise my time during the day when I'm not training to study, I also make an effort to attend lectures if it doesn't clash with training. This makes it easier because I don't have to catch up on them later. I also work on weeknights so I don't have a lot of time to study then.
'Weekends are usually my big study days, I often come into Deakin’s library because I find it quite easy to study there! I suggest putting all distractions away when studying, for me that’s my phone. If I do an hour of good study I reward myself with 5–10 minutes of going on my phone.'
For anyone who is thinking of studying and competing professionally, Alexandra has some words of advice.
'Balance is key! Sometimes it can all get really overwhelming, like your studies might get on top of you or your training may not be going as well. You need to learn that it’s give and take, and make sure you always ask for help!'
Alexandra is now preparing for her dream, to take part in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo – we wish her all the best on her journey.