Name: Daniel Lee
Q1) What got you into the sport you are competing in at the Commonwealth Games?
When I was a toddler I used to swing around on the curtain poles and spend a lot of time upside down, so I started going to gymnastics classes and really enjoyed it. Also, my mum was in the Great Britain squad for gymnastics, so I guess I kind of inherited the love for the sport from her.
Q2) What’s your main motivation for being an athlete?
Motivation has never really been an issue for me; I just love doing gymnastics. The feeling you get from performing and learning new skills; the rush of adrenaline and pleasure you get from it is overwhelming.
Q3) What do you enjoy most about being an athlete?
The opportunities you get are incredible. My gymnastics has allowed me to visit so many places all over the world and meet so many new people. I love travelling around the world and training and competing with other athletes, whilst experiencing different lifestyles and cultures.
Q4) What’s the best sporting advice you’ve been given?
Success is achieved through hard work, only 10% is talent. So always remember if you work hard, success will follow. Always have dreams, if you don’t have dreams you can’t fulfil your dreams. Set short and long term goals. Set your short term goals as stepping stones that lead to your main target. You have to do this otherwise your goals may seem too far-fetched and unachievable which makes it harder to stay motivated and keep working hard.
Q5) What have been your major highlights/achievements in your sport?
This year has been a very successful one for me. I have been making the transition from a junior to a senior. At the USA Junior Olympic Men’s National Championships I was crowned USA Junior Olympic National High Bar Champion and also finished 2nd on the parallel bars and 3rd all around. At my first senior British Gymnastics Championships, I finished in 8th place all around, as well as finishing in 5th place on the parallel bars and the horizontal bar. Lastly, my most recent achievement was winning six gold medals and one bronze medal at the Natwest Island Games. This was my first international competition for Jersey and it was an unforgettable experience.
Q6) Who has been most influential to you in your sport development and why?
Over the last four years I have spent a lot of time training and competing in the USA. I stayed with a family friend, Zoltan Supol, who was a three-time Hungarian Olympian. He has mentored me and taught me invaluable lessons about competing and all aspects of the sport. Learning from someone who has actually experienced my dream and understands the challenges has been amazing.
Q7) How is the Acorn Performance Pathway supporting you in your development?
They have very generously given me some financial aid. I have deferred my university place for a year and have so many expenses with travelling to and from the gym, competitions and equipment, so I really appreciate their support.
Q8) Who is your sporting hero?
The seven-time world and Olympic champion, Kohei Uchimura. He is an absolute legend of the sport and arguably the best of all time. He combines difficulty with execution and constantly produces flawless routines under extraordinary pressure.
Q9) What international sporting moment really stands out for you and why? E.g. Britain winning gold in…; Mo Farah; Lewis Hamilton winning F1 title?
The competition for all around gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics between Kohei Uchimura and Oleg Vernaiev. Both gymnasts hit all of their routines and it came down to the last apparatus, the high bar. Uchimura needed to nail his routine and, under all that pressure, he managed to do it so well and stuck his dismount. It was incredible to watch and one of the most epic battles I have seen for a gymnastics title.
Q10) What’s the most important element of your preparation? (E.g. nutrition, sleep, other…)
I train over 30 hours a week so getting enough rest is very important to me. I need sufficient sleep every night to allow my body and muscles to recover as much as possible ready for the next day of intense training.