Saturday, November 21, 2009


(pic from Standard )

The South East Standard newspaper reported this week on the first Australian female gymnast to give the WAIS program its great name in gymnastics in Australia.  This gymnast was Michelle Telfer, who competed on the national team with the first of Australia's great gymnasts, Monique Allen and Kylie Shadbolt.

It turns out Michelle is now working as a resident pediatrician at a Warnambool hospital, helping sick children get a better start in life.  It sounds like she had kept her past pretty much quiet until recently.

Michelle competed in gymnastics until she finished year twelve (senior year) when she began her medical study.  Born in 1974, she was discovered as a gymnastics talent, according to Wikipedia, by Liz Chetkovich at the age of seven. She went on to become Australia's National junior champion.

Michelle had a successful international career after this, competing in the 1989 World Gymnastics Championships, the 1990 Commonwealth Games and at the 1992 Barcelona Games.  At the Commonwealth Games she won a silver in the AA, as well as an individual bronze medal on bars, which wasthe very first international medal won by a WAIS gymnast.

She told journalist Mary Alexander; "It's a big psychological sport and it's all about performing under pressure, especially when you're standing on a beam that's ten centimeters wide and you've got 20 000 people watching you and you're only fifteen or sixteen at the time."

This early pressure stood Telfer in good stead for her career to come.  She told the Standard that she abandoned her initial leanings toward a career in sports medicine, though she admired the sports doctors she travelled with in the past.

"I like dealing with really sick kids.  You can make a real difference."  She said.


1 comment:

  1. She says that she doesn't see how her gymnastics led her to being a doctor however the discipline required to be an elite athlete transfers into many other traits like the descipline to study like crazy to become a medical doctor. Good on her for following her dreams