Gymnast-turned-snowboarder Steph Magiros will take a step towards becoming the first Australian to compete in back-to-back summer and Winter Olympics when she contests the vault final at the national gymnastics championships in Melbourne on Saturday.
A semi-finalist in the snowboard halfpipe at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Magiros has her eyes set on the Rio Games next year.
While two Australians have done the summer-winter double (Jana Pittman and Paul Narracott), the pair had eight to 10 years between Games.
The feat is also a rarity worldwide, the arduous nature of competing in very different disciplines limiting it to a small group of international athletes.
“With my gymnastics it is kind of a second chance after semi-retiring seven years ago,” Magiros told AAP.
“I am already ahead in my career than I ever was before so it is all a positive right now.”
The 24-year-old over-rotated her landings in qualifying in Melbourne and enjoyed some luck in squeezing through to the eight-woman final.
But Magiros felt with more time under her belt she would be pushing towards the top of the field.
“I still have a little more difficulty to add to my vaults,” she said.
“It’s not at that Olympics level just yet. But I have the potential in me to get it up there. The only thing now is timing – being the Olympics next year I am cut on time but my whole snowboarding career was cut on time as well and that was a success.”
Involved in gymnastics since the age of three, Magiros competed until her teens before trying snowboarding on a school trip at the age of 16.
Six years later she became a Winter Olympian.
After making the team she immediately decided to put gymnastics back on the agenda, registering for the national program just three days before the annual cut-off.
To send a team of five women’s gymnasts to Brazil, Australia first needs a top eight finish at the world championships in Glasgow in October.
While Magiros said she was still getting her head around the complexities of claiming an individual position in 2016 she understands there are a number of opportunities to build results that will get her to Rio.
“Knowing that no Australian has made two Olympic Games in a row, that has definitely been my fire to come back into it and give it a crack and see how far I can take my gymnastics again,” she said.
THE SUMMER/WINTER DOUBLE
Australians to have achieved the feat:
Jana Pittman 400m hurdles (2004); bobsled (2014)
Paul Narracott 100m (1984); bobsled (1992)
Other notable internationals:
Lolo Jones (USA) 100m hurdles (2008, 2012) bobsled (2014)
Jan Bos (NED) speed skating (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010) track cycling (2004)
Seiko Hashimoto (JPN) speed skating (1984, 1988, 1992, 1994); track cycling (1988, 1992, 1996).