A life long for gymnastics – both as an active athlet and Volunteer

10.10.2019 16:00 Uhr

Ivana Kovacova on uneven bars during 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing

After twelve years she´s back

Ivana Kovacova competed in the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart 2007. Now she’s back as a member of the social media team. Here’s her story.

Ivana, can you tell us something about yourself?

The most difficult topic is always to say something about yourself. 🙂 In short, I am a former Olympian gymnast from Slovakia, now living an ordinary life, enjoying sport as a hobby.

What are you doing right now?

I am working in IBM as an application support specialist. After my gymnastic career I had to decide my next step. I keep training kids in a gymnastics centre in Bratislava and organising great trips to Stuttgart!

What was your favourite apparatus?

I have always enjoyed uneven bars. It was my strongest discipline and It had a very special meaning for me. When the routine on bars went fine it was a happy day, and vice versa.

What are your memories about Stuttgart 2007? What did you like the most?

Of course, I have memories here in Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. I remembered how my heart was beating when I entered the hall. I was 15 years old, and it was my first World Championships. My family was there, and I really wanted to perform the best I could.

How did your competition go in 2007 – did you qualify to the Olympics in Beijing?

I made some mistakes in my routines, which moved me just under the line. I ended up as a first reserve. It´s difficult to describe the disappointment I felt. I was 15 and so angry with myself that I didn’t do the routines perfectly. However, half a year later I received a call from the gymnastics federation that the place is mine. Somebody from the world couldn’t make it so I was back in the game and participated in Beijing as one of the youngest gymnasts.

How is it for you to be back? But now behind the scenes and reporting instead of taking part?

It’s a great experience to see what it takes, to make a huge event like this work. As a gymnast I was very specialised, strictly followed my trainings and concentrating on the routine. You don’t see the complexity. I must say it´s very different. I really enjoy it. Maybe even more than in front of the scene!

How did you get to work at the Social Media Team at Stuttgart 2019?

Once I found out the qualification for Tokyo 2020 will take place in Stuttgart, it clicked inside my head: ´I will always regret not coming back´. A Slovak gymnast, Barbora Mokosova, who I trained with, is participating and she has a big chance to qualify. However, I checked the tickets too late and it was sold out. Fortunately, I later registered as a volunteer and became part of the social media team.

What is your favourite place in Stuttgart?

I didn’t see a lot of Stuttgart in 2007. I was almost all the time here in Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, watching the best gymnasts in the world. I went to the Mercedes museum which I enjoyed. This year I will do more. I see there is a beer festival with plenty of rollercoasters – this I must do.

What do you like most about working in the Social Media Team?

It will probably be the teamwork, the brainstorming, putting little pieces together. Also, the atmosphere, the awareness, the present moment, to catch what is happening currently, documenting the emotions of sport. It feels very good to be part of it.


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