Lauren Mitchell OAM started displaying her great potential from 2007. Finishing an impressive fifth on beam at the 2007 World Championships, she then went on to collect silver and bronze on the beam and floor at the World Cup in Stuttgart. In 2008, she was selected to represent Australia at the Beijing Olympics, where she helped Australia reach its best ever Olympic team result to finish sixth.
At the end of 2008, the Western Australian teenager created history by becoming the first Australian female gymnast to win a World Cup final, defeating a stellar field on the balance beam in Madrid, Spain.
In 2009 Lauren became the toast of Australian gymnastics following the World Championships in London by winning silver on beam and floor and just missing out on a medal in the women’s all-around final finishing in fourth place by just 0.025.
Mitchell became the first Australian woman to medal in an individual apparatus final at a world championships, and the only Australian to win two medals in the same competition.
Even though Mitchell was injured for much of 2010 she etched her name into history at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games by equaling the best ever Games result by an artistic gymnast. The biomedical science student won gold in the all-around, uneven bars, beam and women’s team events.
Following on from the Commonwealth Games, Lauren again created history by becoming Australia’s first woman to win a world gymnastics title at the 2010 World Championships in Rotterdam in late October. Lauren took out the Gold Medal in the Floor when in the last female performance of the world championships she produced a stunning floor routine to upset Russian favourite and all-around champion Aliya Mustafina.
In 2012, Mitchell was selected to represent Australia at her second Olympic Games where she finished fifth in the Floor final.
Lauren returned to competition for the first time since the London Olympic Games in March 2014 when she competed at the World Challenge Cup in Doha. Full of confidence following the 2014 Australian Gymnastics Championships, Lauren was excited to once again represent Australia on the world stage at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games where she won two silver medals.
Initially planning to join the team for the World Gymnastics Championships in Nanning – and preparing for retirement – Mitchell suffered twin ankle injuries which eventually prolonged her career.
After winning gold on the Floor in the 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships, Mitchell unfortunately sustained a knee injury in training for the World Universiade Games.
This injury was confirmed as a ruptured ACL resulting in her missing the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Mitchell made an incredible return to the competition arena at the 2016 Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne, where she was crowned Australian Champion on Beam, and took home the bronze medal on Floor – in her own words an incredible achievement and ‘something I’m so proud of seeing less than 12 months ago I couldn’t even walk.’
Her final international competition was at the Anadia World Challenge Cup in Portugal in July 2016, where she qualified third for the Beam final, from which she unfortunately had to withdraw due to injury.
Lauren officially announced her retirement on September 27, 2016.
Lauren was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Civic Honours in 2021 (Monday, June 14) for distinguished service to gymnastics awarding her with an OAM.
Part bio with thanks to Gymnastics Australia.