Name: Jordan Papandrea
Where do you live? Sydney Northern Beaches
Where do you train? Manly Warringah Gymnastics Club
Why did you choose to be a gymnast? I was originally put into gymnastics like most youngsters (At the age of 5), just to have a play and jump around. In my first week of “jumping around” I was approached and asked to join squad gymnastics. Although, the funny part is that the only reason I decided to join was that I was told I would get my own locker and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
What have been your major achievements since being a gymnast? In terms of gymnastics specific achievements, I've been 5x State Champion, 1x Australian National Champion, Australian Champion on Pommel horse (2019), Represented Australia 3x, and have competed overseas for other several competitions.
What would be your ultimate achievement in sport be this year? Well, this question is a little different now as the whole world is currently dealing with a pandemic. It might not sound big but because I am returning from a second broken leg, I would love to just get my strength and skillset back to where it was before I broke my leg in September last year.
What have been the biggest challenges in getting to where you are today? I started gymnastics at the age of 5, and of course, that's one of the main reasons why I can do all the things I can do, but you do have to consider all the things you have to sacrifice along the way. Training around 25 hours a week (20 hours gymnastics & 5 hours of other sports) for most of my life means that you have to prioritise your training and health over catching up with friends, going away, trying other sports, and sometimes your studies. I don't regret doing this sport at all as it has taught me so much physically and mentally. Another major challenge for me in recent years is injury. I have broken my right leg once in 2018 and again in 2019. It has been a massive journey both physically and mentally.
What drives you to get up in the morning and train every day? People have asked me before, questions like “how do you get up every morning/day, and train?” and to be honest when you love something as much as I love gymnastics it's a lot easier than you think. I'm literally obsessed with this sport and I think it’s the greatest sport in the world (possibly a bit bias haha). Don't get me wrong, some days are harder than others, but those though days are even more important, that's where some of the more important gains are made. Being "gymnastics fit” is the best type of fit, in my opinion, you feel great, healthy, strong, and as though you can do anything.
How many times have you been on Ninja Warrior and where did you place each time? I have been on season 2 (2018), 3 (2019), and 4 (2020) of Australian Ninja Warrior and made the grand final every season. I believe season 2 I finished 11th, season 3 I finished 8th and season 4 I finished 7th. Closer and closer each year.
Toughest obstacle on the Ninja Warrior course? To be honest, there isn’t really one super tough obstacle in particular. I know that I can finish every obstacle on their own, but when you put 6 -10 obstacles in a row (and be competing at times like 3 am, which most people don't know) to be able to successfully execute them all is the toughest challenge of them all. I will give a shout out to “The flying bar”. This is the last obstacle before Mt Midoriyama and is one of my favourites. It requires a lot of strength but most of all, accuracy!
Who are your biggest inspirations both athletically and personally? I look up to anyone who enjoys and is passionate about what they do but I don't I have a single person who inspires me. This might sound funny but my main inspiration is the person who I strive to be. I'm very much of a perfectionist and I am quite tough on myself about what I expect of me. Every time I do anything I try my hardest to be the best version of myself self and I find that on its own very inspirational.
Favourite REC GEN piece to train in? The “Type 2 Short” and “Edge Oxy Tee” are by far my favourite top and bottom combo to train in. I've trained in a lot of gear in my life and the quality and comfortability of REC GEN are unmatched.
Best piece of advice to your 14-year-old self? Well, I don't want to give too many of the surprises away to my 14y/o self but I would just tell him that everything in life happens for a reason and sometimes that reason might not be so obvious straight away. Additionally, I would also tell him to only do the things in life you enjoy. Sounds simple and cliché I know, but I see way too many people doing things in life they don't love and are not passionate about.
Favourite quote to live by? “Exceed Expectation”. I always want to do more than what people expect of me and go that little bit further. This is isn’t just in sport but also with relationships, studies and everything in life.