My name is Annabelle Kovacs. I was born on April 20, 1996. I graduated from Magee Secondary School. I was in the SPARTS program. SPARTS is a prestigious program for those who are involved in a sport or art for more than 25 hours a week and with at least a B average. I have received the Principal’s List award (90+% average) each term every year. It’s always been extremely important for me to do well in school because I wanted to continue doing rhythmic gymnastics and I also wanted to make my parents proud. I started gymnastics when I was 7 years old and I advanced very quickly because of my talent. I immediately fell in love with the sport because I thought it was very graceful and beautiful and at the same time challenging. I was moved up to the national level after only one year in the provincial level. Since then, I have always ranked top 3 in the country, except for one year when I was recovering from my injury (broken foot). The injury affected me greatly because many people stopped believing in me, which made it very difficult for me to believe in myself. I rapidly became hopeless and my confidence was diminished. So many people doubted my ability to make a come back. However, my unconditional love and passion for the sport didn’t let me quit and forced me to continue chasing my dreams. It was very challenging for me to no longer focus on my results but instead on my own personal improvement and performances. After a year and a half of hard work and commitment, I surprisingly managed to get back on top and placed second on the Junior National Team of Canada. It was a very emotional run, mixed with a load of sweat and tears, but every moment and practice was worth it. Through that experience, I have grown stronger both physically and mentally. Evidently, the sport has shaped the person I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful for what I have learnt from it. Other than the unforgettable memories I have attained from competitions, I have gained a set of life skills that will help me throughout my future. All the travelling has taught me how to take care of myself and what it is like to be independent. I also learned how to deliver under stress and pressure. And on top of everything, the most rewarding part of being an elite athlete is knowing that I have left an impact on the people that admire and care about me, including other gymnasts (who look up to me as their role model) and spectators. Finishing a solid performance and leaving the audience inspired and proud is honestly the best feeling ever. For the last four years I have been ranked top three in Canada at the Elite Canada Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships and Canadian National Championships. Last year I qualified to represent Canada at the 2013 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Ukraine along with the first place gymnast. I also competed at the Las Vegas International Tournament and at the 26th Rhythmic Gymnastics Calais Tournament where I placed 2nd at both events. I have also attended World Cups in France and Hungary and competed at Aeon Cup in Japan. This year, I competed at Pacific Rim Championships. With all of our results accumulated (top 3 gymnasts of Canada) we managed to place 2nd as a country. My future plans consist of going to training camps in Spain and Azerbaijan, Commonwealth Games in Scotland, Pan American Games in Toronto, and World Championships in Turkey as well as going to Aeon Cup again at the end of the season. Although I am a nervous competitor, I hope that I have now learned how to control my nerves and convert them into the positive energy that I need to allow myself to perform to my fullest ability. I have worked my entire life for this special moment. I am so honoured I have been given the chance to represent my country.