Ellis O’Reilly has yet to perform her first leap at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but she has already made history as Ireland’s first female gymnastics Olympian.
Even in her own family, O’Reilly is a trailblazer.
Her older sister Jenna has won four British boxing titles and younger brothers Frank and Reggie followed her into the ring, so opting for gymnastics was quite a departure.
“I’ve never been the boxing-fighter type,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t really like getting hit, so gymnastics was much better suited for me.”
O’Reilly, 18, was born in London but is proud to represent Ireland in Rio.
“It’s great to have all the support from Gymnastics Ireland (sports federation) and all the fans at home,” she said. “It motivates me to do the best I can.”
O’Reilly revealed that advice from her sister, a veteran of top-level competition, should steady her at the Games.
“Jenna told me to forget about the audience and everyone around me, and focus on what I need to do to get the job done,” O’Reilly said.
“I’m looking to have a clean competition and score around 50 to 51 points,” she said. “That would be a great achievement.”
And the teenager believes a solid performance on beam will be key to achieving her ambitious all-around score.
“The main piece for me will be beam, because that’s where I’m most likely to make a mistake,” she said.
“If I manage to stay focused and stay on the beam then I should be able to get a great score.”